On the latest edition of KCRW's The Spin-Off, it's another bonus episode: This time, from a recent panel (at Realscreen West) I conducted with "Survivor"/"The Voice"/"The Bible" producer Mark Burnett. We talked about the state of reality TV, his reaction to TLC's Duggars mess, and how his faith plays a large role in what he does:
The plan was to have his wife and producing partner, Roma Downey, join us as well, but Downey was stuck at home, sick with laryngitis, so Burnett and Schneider chatted, just the two of them.
Burnett has an empire's worth of shows. He helped change the reality game in 2000 with Survivor, and 15 years later, that show is still going, along with Celebrity Apprentice, Shark Tank and his reality singing contest The Voice, which will continue even as its competitor American Idol soon goes off the air.
Burnett and Downey also work on scripted projects and they're both very religious -- which explains why they did the shows The Bible for the History Channel and more recently, AD on NBC.
For Burnett, his Christian religion is a driving force in how he runs his business and picks projects to pursue. Schneider asks Burnett about all of this and more, but when they first sat down, he had to address something right away: Burnett had shaved his beard, a distinctive part of his look for the past few years. But recently, he just reached a point where he needed to make a change.