Mark Burnett, MGM’s tv chief, exits Amazon

Amazon introduced Monday that actuality tv producer Mark Burnett, who served as MGM’s tv president for eight years, was leaving the corporate amid Amazon’s efforts to combine MGM into its personal studio operations.

Burnett is finest recognized for introducing “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” with Donald Trump to U.S. audiences. In recent times, he has served as chairman of MGM’s worldwide tv group, overseeing a slate of unique applications together with “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “Shark Tank” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The transfer comes eight months after Amazon bought MGM for $8.5 billion, a key part of the e-commerce large’s efforts to bulk up its content material library for Amazon Prime Video subscribers.

Mike Hopkins, Amazon’s senior vp of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, and Burnett collectively introduced that Burnett was departing the corporate “to resume his work as an independent creator and producer,” based on an electronic mail to employees despatched by Hopkins.

Burnett’s contract was set to run out by yr’s finish. On Monday, Hopkins instructed Amazon’s employees that “Mark’s stepping aside of course raises both opportunities and questions about how we’ll be organized moving forward. You’ll be hearing more about this shortly.”

Burnett, a Briton who received his begin in Los Angeles greater than 25 years in the past hawking T-shirts on the Venice Seashore boardwalk, scored together with his first main present, “Survivor,” launched on CBS. However his profession achieved even higher heights after “The Apprentice” premiered on NBC in 2004. Rankings soared, and Trump turned a nationwide sensation together with his signature line: “You’re fired.”

Burnett’s tenure at MGM had been stormy at occasions, together with clashes with different executives. And within the fall of 2016, MGM confronted calls to launch outtakes from the filming of “The Apprentice” in order that voters might get a view of Trump’s unvarnished conduct. The studio refused.

On Monday, Burnett despatched a prolonged electronic mail to the employees, lauding their contributions to MGM’s latest tv success. He famous that he had offered the bulk stake in his firms to MGM in 2014 when he got here aboard because the studio’s tv president. He added that he later “sold the rest of my companies for MGM stock and became Chairman of MGM Global Television because I believed in the value of MGM.”

In 2015, MGM took full management of United Artists Media Group, which was a three way partnership of MGM, Burnett, his spouse, Roma Downey, and media large Hearst, for $234 million. Burnett and Downey acquired $120 million for his or her 23% stake.

The deal boosted MGM’s tv properties.

Burnett’s departure was anticipated. Different MGM executives, together with Michael De Luca and Pamela Abdy, who had served because the heads of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios’ movie enterprise, left instantly after Amazon’s takeover.

“After months of collaborative transition efforts, we have thoughtfully re-organized our teams so that they all have the opportunity to prosper under the leadership of Mike Hopkins, Jennifer Salke and Christopher Brearton,” Burnett added.

“As I step away from day to day management and back into independently creating and innovating, I will continue to oversee my legacy series and be available to all of you and to Amazon for guidance and support,” Burnett wrote.

Burnett helped rebuild MGM’s tv operation together with his personal productions, together with the collection “The Bible,” which he co-produced with Downey for the Historical past Channel.

“I wanted to follow up by thanking him for his countless contributions to our success and, on a personal level, for his partnership and counsel throughout the integration,” Hopkins wrote in his memo. “I know you’ll all agree that he is one of the most innovative, creative, and prolific television producers in our industry, and we have been extraordinarily fortunate to have him on our team.”