One of the driving forces behind reality television and a true visionary, Mark Burnett has a long history of executive-producing Emmy Award-winning television. Burnett's entrepreneurial spirit pioneered the success of the reality "unscripted" drama series, introducing millions worldwide to an entirely new television genre.
Burnett began his career in unscripted drama when he created the adventure series "Eco-Challenge." He has since served as executive producer on nine "Eco-Challenge" events and programs. "Eco-Challenge: British Columbia" earned him a 1996 Sports Emmy Award nomination and a 1997 International Documentary Association Award nomination. In 2000, Burnett received a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Program Achievement for "Eco-Challenge: Morocco," and was awarded the prestigious Banff Rockie Award in the Sports Program Category by the 2000 Banff Rockie Awards Festival. In addition, he received an Emmy Award nomination for "Eco-Challenge: Borneo" in September 2001.
In 2000, Burnett broke into primetime television with the hit reality skein "Survivor," now airing its 11th season. Its debut season won two primetime Emmys and earned Burnett a total of six Emmy nominations in 2001. The series was nominated for four Emmys in 2002 and 2003; five Emmys in 2004 and five again in 2005. In January 2004, "Survivor" earned the award for Favorite Reality Based Television Program at the 30th Annual People's Choice Awards, its fourth consecutive victory, with a nomination for the 2005 awards. "Survivor: Pearl Islands" was nominated for the 2004 Producers Guild Award in the Reality/Game/Informational Series category.
Having produced nine worldwide "Eco-Challenge" races and series, 10 "Survivor" series and "Combat Missions," Burnett continues to break new ground in the "reality" and "unscripted drama" genre. "The Apprentice" has completed its fourth season with Donald Trump again at its helm. "The Apprentice" premiered in Spring 2003 and quickly became the top-rated new series of the season, finishing with an average audience of 28 million. "Apprentice" earned four 2004 Emmy nominations, five Emmy nominations in 2005, and the 2005 Producers Guild Award for nonfiction programming..
In March 2005, Burnett teamed up with DreamWorks for "The Contender," an unscripted drama backdropped against the sport of boxing. The series, which focused on a nationwide search for real American heroes and the chance to revitalize boxing, earned two Emmy nominations in 2005. Burnett collaboratd again, this time in a worldwide search for the next rock superstar. In summer 2005, the objective was to find the new frontman for supergroup INXS, and in July 2006, it was to find a lead singer for Tommy Lee's new band, Supernova.
Burnett's newest venture is his partnership with AOL on the eagerly anticipated adventure "Gold Rush," the first-ever unscripted project to be produced exclusively for the Internet.
Additional reality projects have included: "Boarding House: North Shore," an unscripted drama about big wave surfing, which aired in summer 2003; "The Restaurant," a six-hour unscripted drama, which first aired in summer 2003 and had its second season in spring 2004; and "The Casino" in summer 2004.
Burnett continued to diversify by bringing his storytelling expertise to the "scripted" world of television. Spring 2003 had Burnett partnering with Carsey-Werner-Mandabach to produce "Are We There Yet." Burnett also partnered with Warner Bros. Television on two scripted projects: the drama pilot "Global Frequency" and a scripted comedy pilot, "Commando Nanny."
Burnett recently received the prestigious Foundation Award from the International Radio & Television Society. In 2004, he was featured in TIME Magazine's Time 100 List of the most influential people in the world today, and was named to the Top 101 Most Powerful People in Entertainment list by Entertainment Weekly for the last three consecutive years. In addition, in early 2004 at NATPE, he received the Brandon Tartikoff Legacy Award, recognizing individuals with a unique passion and vision for television. He is also the latest recipient of the Philanthropist of the Year award, presented by the Reality Cares Foundation.
Burnett received a Special Recognition Award for "Survivor" from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); was named in the Advertising Age Top 100 for 2001; and is a featured business leader in Variety's 2001 "A Tradition of Trendsetting." "The Apprentice" also won the FRAPA Format Award at the Rose D'or Festival in 2005, along with the Buzz Award in TV Product Placement for Pontiac's participation.
In addition to his producing credits, Burnett has authored two books about "Survivor"; a third book, "Dare to Succeed"; and a fourth, "JUMP IN!," published in February 2005. He received medals for serving with the Parachute Regiment in Northern Ireland and the Falklands War. He also served two elected terms on the Board of Directors for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in Los Angeles and is a member of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Currently, Burnett serves on the Board of Directors of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation.