Mark Burnett is a British television producer with an estimated net worth of $400 million. Burnett is attributed to bringing reality television to America. He was born on July 17th, 1960 in London, England. He grew up with very humble beginnings as the son of two factory workers. Although he did not grow up with in a wealthy household it was filled with love. As an only child his mother would encourage Burnett in any venture he would take on.
At the age of 17, he signed up for active duty in The British Army. While in the army he became a section commander of the prestigious Parachute Regiment. He would leave the army in 1982 a decorated soldier. His experiences in the service left a taste of adventure in his mouth. Burnett left the army unsure of what his next move should be. He finally accepted a dangerous job military adviser in Central America. He did not tell his mother the full details of the job only that it had to do with security. His mother urged him not go but Burnett pressed on anyway. That is until he found himself at the Los Angeles airport awaiting his next plan and his mother's voice popped into his head. He listened to his urges and with only $600 in his pocket decided to stay in Los Angeles.
A friend told him about a nanny position opening with a well off Malibu family so he applied. The employer was impressed with Burnett's cleaning and ironing skills so he got the job. Burnett had obtained these skills in the services. Burnette worked as a Nanny for two different homes in a seven year span. He became lifelong friends with one of his employers Burt. Burt would often have many producers and businessmen over the house. While around men of their status Burnett would often ask as many question to them as possible. Burt would eventually see the potential that Burnett held and hired him to sell insurance. The skills that Burnette learned there led him to opening up his own marketing and advertising firm. By the early 90′s Mark made his first million. Still after all of his hard work he wanted more… he wanted adventure.
Burnett found his adventure when he read about Raid Gauloises in the Los Angeles time. Raid Gauloises is a French adventure competition held once a year. The competition consisted of a group of five people from various countries racing in an exotic location for two weeks.The grueling ordeals they went through consisted of horseback riding, marathon kayaking, and even parachuting to name a few. A competition the likes of these had not been seen in America. He rounded up a team of five and became the first American team to ever compete. Coming off that the thrill Burnette began to shop his idea around. He called it "Eco-Challenge" and held it in Utah. It was first shown on MTV and latter appeared on The Discovery Chanel and USA network. The show was a success.
One of the things that intrigued Burnett most during eco-challenge was not the competition but the way the teams communicated with each other. This planted the seed for Survivor in his head. The idea though originated in the mind of British producer Charlie Parsons. Being the fact that Burnett had the idea and Parson's he decided to buy the rights from Parson in 1998. It took two years for the show to make it onto televisions set. During this time it was rejected by network after network. Finally CBS put it on during their summer season when most networks would play re-runs. Survivor became a monster hit and is still airing today. But there was nothing like the first season that kept all of America glued to their television sets. The show's finale was watched by over 50 million people. In addition to Survivor, Burnett has produced The Apprentice, Are you Smarter than a 5th grader, Rock Star, The Voice, Shark Tank, Expedition Impossible, The Contender and more. He also released the book: Succeed: How to Survive and Thrive in the Game of Life.
Mark Burnett is also recognized for philanthropy and has won many awards for his production and marketing. He is now planning to launch a McDonalds TV channel, that will play in McDonalds resturants across America.
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