Tags: Hollywood | Mark Burnett | MGM | Roma Downey | TLC

Mark Burnett to Head MGM Television Unit

Image: Mark Burnett to Head MGM Television Unit
Mark Burnett (AP) 

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Monday, 21 Dec 2015 10:10 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Faith-based fare is about to take a giant step onto your television, smart phone, and tablet.

Mark Burnett, the prodigious reality show magnate and faith film mogul, has been named president of MGM Television and Digital Group, and Burnett’s wife, actress-producer Roma Downey, is taking a position as president of LightWorkers Media, the faith and family division of MGM Television and Digital Group.

The couple’s deep devotion to Christianity has motivated the two to become innovators in bringing inspirational content to television and film.

Burnett and Downey have already brought to the small screen the hugely successful miniseries, “The Bible,” which attracted about 100 million viewers, making it the top-rated cable miniseries of 2013 and one of the most widely watched series of all time.

The success of “The Bible” made it possible for Burnett and Downey to pursue the development of additional faith-directed projects. Another miniseries, “A.D.: The Bible Continues,” was launched on the NBC network on Easter Sunday 2015, and “The Dovekeepers” began its miniseries run on CBS during the same year.

The couple is also behind the Downey hosted TLC series “Answered Prayers,” which features stories of people who have had miraculous life-saving experiences.

The two ventured into the feature film arena as well with the production and distribution of “Son of God” in 2014.

They are also producing a big budget epic reboot of the classic "Ben Hur,” which is set for release in February 2016 by Paramount and MGM.

Burnett initially made his mark on the entertainment culture with the seminal reality shows “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” “Shark Tank,” and “The Voice,” all of which are still being broadcast.

He is also integrally involved in the production of “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader,” “500 Questions,” “America's Greatest Makers,” and the “People’s Choice Awards.”

Burnett has a sizable number of statues on his shelf, having won eight Emmy Awards, three Producers Guild of America Awards, three Critics’ Choice Television Awards, and five People’s Choice Awards.

In 2013 TV Guide Magazine named him its “Producer of the Year.”

Burnett himself has a Horatio Alger-like story. In 1982, after coming to the U.S. from the U.K., he took a job as a live-in nanny and chauffeur, despite having no experience. He took a second nanny job, worked in an insurance office, and sold T-shirts on Venice Beach before having a media epiphany and bringing his first reality show to television, a competition show titled “Eco-Challenge.”

Burnett’s taking of the reins of the new MGM position means good things for the quality of the nation’s media culture. His new position will include the start-up of a digital and cable television channel that is sure to please faith-oriented folks.

The channel, currently dubbed “LightWorkers,” may make its debut before the end of next year, with Downey serving as the channel’s chief content officer.

Burnett and Downey intend to bring shows such as “Touched by an Angel” and “Little House on the Prairie” to the channel. Also included in the plans are corresponding social media content and interaction.

Viewers will reportedly be able to communicate with the network to express their programming desires and share ideas, images, links, and comments with each other as well.

With the pent up demand for faith-strengthening media and positive viewing alternatives, look for the famed couple to have a repeat of previous successes and in the process perhaps raise the entertainment bar to a higher level.

James Hirsen, J.D., M.A., in media psychology, is a New York Times best-selling author, media analyst, and law professor. Visit Newsmax TV Hollywood. Read more reports from James Hirsen — Click Here Now.





 

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Mark Burnett has been named president of MGM Television. Burnett’s wife, Roma Downey, is taking a position as president of the faith and family division of MGM Television. Look for the famed couple to raise the entertainment bar.
Mark Burnett, MGM, Roma Downey, TLC
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2015-10-21
Monday, 21 Dec 2015 10:10 AM
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