With a record six primetime shows in primetime next season, Mark Burnett is branching out into — why not? — scripted television.
One Three Media, Burnett's joint venture with Hearst, has named HBO veteran Anne Thomopoulos as the head of its new scripted division. The longtime HBO Originals executive produced shows including "Rome," "Camelot," and "Generation Kill," and now executive produces the European series "Borgia."
Burnett's six primetime unscripted shows next season include "Survivor" on CBS, "Celebirty Apprentice" and "The Voice" on NBC, and "Shark Tank" on ABC, as well as the new shows "The Job" on CBS and "Stars Earn Stripes" on NBC. No other producer has had six primetime network shows as once, according to Hearst.
As one of the most successful reality TV producers — his "Survivor" inspired countless reality shows — Burnett has made networks less reliant on scripted series. But now he plans a big push into scripted shows. His first foray into scripted series — the 2004 WB sitcom, "Commando Nanny," based partly on Burnett's life — was one of his rare failures.
Burnett's first scripted series will be a 10-hour miniseries based on the Bible that he's executive producing with his wife, "Touched By An Angel" star Roma Downey. It is now in production and will premiere in spring 2013 on History. The series is co-financed by Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, and Fox has worldwide home video distribution rights. One Three International (the company's international sales division) is handling distribution for initial television release outside the U.S.
In a statement, Burnett credited the success to his colleagues and the transformation of Mark Burnett Productions into One Three Media last year.
"One Three's energy, creativity and quality are at all-time highs," Burnett said. "That is why now is the perfect time to have Anne join us as president of our scripted division. She is someone I have admired for many years and she is all about quality."