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Mark Burnett Sets Unscripted Record: Six Network Primetime Series On Air During Next 12 Months

Moving Into Scripted TV With Anne Thomopoulos Hire (May 22, 2012)

SANTA MONICA, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 05/22/12 -- As the broadcast networks announced their schedules for the remainder of 2012 and the first half of 2013, award-winning producer Mark Burnett set a record in one field and is breaking new ground in another.

In the unscripted arena, Burnett will have at least six broadcast network primetime series on air during the next season: Survivor (CBS), Celebrity Apprentice (NBC), The Voice (NBC), Shark Tank (ABC) and two new series The Job (CBS) and Stars Earn Stripes (NBC). No one has ever had as many unscripted series on primetime network television at the same time. In fact, only a few scripted producers have reached similar levels, including Jerry Bruckheimer and Aaron Spelling (10 simultaneous primetime network shows each).

"It's amazing to even be mentioned in the same sentence as legendary producers like Jerry and Aaron," Burnett said.

Burnett gives much of the credit to his colleagues and to the deal he made last year with Hearst Corporation to transform Mark Burnett Productions into One Three Media. "The creation of One Three with Hearst has been incredible," Burnett said. "Frank Bennack, Scott Sassa and all their colleagues at Hearst combine great vision with great discipline. I'm proud to be their partner."

At the same time, Burnett's joint venture with Hearst, One Three Media, is expanding into scripted television with the hiring of Anne Thomopoulos, the longtime HBO Originals executive responsible for starting both its drama and miniseries division. Thomopoulos, who has executive produced series including Rome, Borgia, Camelot and Generation Kill, will be the president of One Three's scripted division.

"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."

Scott Sassa, president of Hearst Entertainment & Syndication, said, "Mark's creativity, enthusiasm and drive are off the charts. We couldn't have entered the production arena with a better partner than Mark and his team at One Three. We are also very happy to have Anne join us and lead One Three as we head into scripted television. I have known Anne for many years, so I know firsthand how capable she is and what an asset she will be for our business."

Thomopoulos, who is currently producing the second season of the Tom Fontana-created series Borgia, transitions to One Three from a long relationship with HBO.

"Mark and Scott are true entrepreneurs," Thomopoulos said. "Our scripted division will be producing domestically and internationally, using both traditional models and new business models that will increase our overall output."

Burnett's first scripted series, a 10-hour miniseries based on the Bible that he's executive producing alongside his wife Touched By An Angel star Roma Downey, is currently in production and will premiere in spring 2013 on HISTORY. It was recently "sneak peeked" at HISTORY's upfront and was the talk of the room. The Bible series is co-financed by Hearst Entertainment & Syndication and Fox has worldwide home video distribution for it. One Three International (the international sales division of One Three Media) is handling distribution for initial television release outside the U.S.

Thomopoulos cited both Borgia and the Bible series as examples of the type of non-traditional business models that One Three scripted will pursue. "Neither series is being produced under a standard network model," Thomopoulos explained. "Networks are great partners, but sometimes certain types of series require different approaches. The only constraints on how we'll do business are what make the most sense for a show creatively and financially."

Burnett has produced more than 2,200 hours of television in the U.S. and over 7,000 hours (including format licenses) worldwide. But, echoing Sassa's comments, Burnett said the company doesn't rely on quantity for its success. His emphasis is on quality.

"One Three won't make shows just to make them," Burnett explained. "I strive for quality that will deliver high-level audience experiences, which translates to long-term ratings success."

Celebrity Apprentice (renewed for its 13th season) routinely wins its Sunday time slot; The Voice (renewed for a third season) wins Monday and Tuesday nights with its performance and results shows; Survivor (renewed for seasons 25 and 26) remains a ratings winner on Wednesday nights; and Shark Tank (renewed for season 4) is a ratings winner on Friday.

Just as One Three prepares to produce over 150 hours of network primetime programming in the upcoming season, the company is simultaneously expanding its reach beyond the network unscripted genre. One Three produces big event programming, including The People's Choice Awards, the Emmys, the MTV Movie Awards and the Video Game Awards in the last 12 months; several cable series, including recent announcements with HISTORY, SyFy and WE; digital media; and scripted programming.

About One Three Media
One Three Media is a joint venture between Hearst Corporation and Mark Burnett. Since 2001, Burnett's series have been nominated for 67 Emmy Awards and he has personally won four, along with four People's Choice Awards. In 2007, Burnett was elected into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. In 2009, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and in 2010 Burnett received the Norman Lear Achievement in Television Award from the Producers Guild of America. In addition, Burnett has been named one of Time magazine's World's Most Influential People, has received BRANDWEEK's "Marketer of the Year" award, and has been named a TV Guide's Most Valuable Player. Last year, Hearst and Burnett formed One Three Media, a long-term media, production and events-based joint venture, with Hearst acquiring a substantial interest in Burnett's existing production business.

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Paul Luthringer
Hearst Corporation

Copyright @ Marketwire

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