Mark Burnett Named President of MGM Television and Digital Group

Reality show super-producer signs five-year deal to replace Roma Khanna

Mark Burnett

Reality TV super-producer Mark Burnett has been named president of MGM Television and Digital Group, signing a five-year deal to replace Roma Khanna in the role.

For 2016, MGM Television will now have numerous unscripted and scripted television shows airing on network and cable or in production including: “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “Shark Tank,” “Celebrity Apprentice,” “Fargo,” “Vikings,” “Teen Wolf” and more.

Burnett’s appointment has been set up to occur simultaneously with the closing of MGM’s acquisition of the remaining 45 percent of Hearst’s, Burnett’s and wife Roma Downey‘s interests in United Artists Media Group (UAMG), which will be absorbed under the MGM Television Group umbrella.

To accomplish this, Burnett and Downey will exchange their 23 percent interest in UAMG for 1,337,360 shares of MGM stock valued at $90 per share. Hearst will receive $113.5 million in cash for its 22 percent interest. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of 2016. A planned OTT channel will remain a separate entity controlled by its investors, Downey, Burnett, Hearst and MGM.

As part of the new structure, Downey will serve as president of LightWorkers Media, which will be the faith and family division of MGM Television, and will report to Burnett. Downey will also serve as the chief content officer for the planned OTT channel.

Additionally, Chris Ottinger has been promoted to president of Worldwide Television Distribution & Acquisitions for MGM, reporting directly to Barber. Steve Stark, MGM’s president of Television Development & Production, will continue to oversee all scripted content and will report directly to Burnett in an expanded role. John Bryan, MGM’s president of Domestic Television Distribution, will continue in his role overseeing domestic distribution.

Mark Burnett is one of the most successful producers in television and a highly sought-after executive in content creation. His leadership is the next step in our never-ending quest to expand and grow our television and digital businesses,” said Gary Barber, chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. “Combining all of our TV content efforts under the purview of this unparalleled chief is incredibly exciting. Additionally, we believe this synergistic transaction will be very accretive to MGM.”

On the departing Khanna, Barber said: “Roma has done a terrific job at MGM. We are thankful for her efforts in helping grow MGM and wish her much success in her future endeavors.”

“Joining MGM under the incredible leadership of Gary Barber is an exciting new chapter of my television career,” said Burnett. “Demand for quality content is stronger than ever and the opportunities to grow our pipeline and develop projects from the wealth of Intellectual Property in the MGM and United Artists libraries are enormous. There is no better time to be creating premium content for distribution across multiple platforms.”

Downey added: “We have entered into an era where faith-based and family programming is experiencing a creative renaissance. I am so excited and grateful to head up the team at LightWorkers Media under MGM. This is an enthusiastic marketplace that inspires us every day to create and curate new, thoughtful and dynamic content for all screens in the distribution landscape.”