Hearst Corporation CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. announced on Monday that his company has entered into a joint venture with reality TV producer Mark Burnett. The deal will give Hearst a 50 percent share in Mark Burnett Productions and all of its future programming, and Hearst will get a piece of several current Burnett programs including The Voice on NBC and Shark Tank on NBC. (Not included in the deal: CBS’s Survivor or NBC’s The Apprentice, Burnett’s most popular series.) So far, the financial aspect hasn’t been made public.
According to The New York Times’ MediaDecoder blog, Burnett joined Hearst president of entertainment and syndication, Scott Sassa, in saying that “the move is designed to create nonfiction entertainment content across whatever platform audiences we'll be relying on in the future,” and although Sassa isn’t sure just yet what that platform will be, he did note that cable networks that rely on nonfiction programming, like Bravo and the History channel, are growing much faster than networks relying on scripted drama series.
Burnett sees this deal as the “second act” in his career, MediaDecoder said. As he develops new shows, he plans to take advantage of partnerships with cable networks and magazines in which Hearst has an ownership stake. “'Content is king,'” Burnett said in a press release, “and with more screens needing entertaining content now than at any time in history, that statement is truer than ever. Hearst's iconic brands will be an incredible creative addition for me and will translate perfectly into the vision for the future that Frank, Scott and I all share.”