Mark Burnett Exits MGM


Mark Burnett, chairman of MGM’s worldwide television group, is exiting the company, which was recently acquired by Amazon for $8.5 billion.

In 2014, Burnett sold a majority of his companies to MGM and came to the studio as president of television. He later sold the rest of his companies for MGM stock and became chairman of MGM Global Television.

“I had a clear strategic vision to build and grow MGM’s television division with my dynamic team, which included buying great companies like Evolution and Big Fish, adding international scripted and unscripted teams, and starting a documentaries unit,” Burnett said in a memo to staff. “We took calibrated risks and hired great people—and the business grew.

“That growth was critical to MGM’s future because MGM needed to maximize its value in order to attract a global streaming partner and be ready for its next 100 years. I am proud to have been part of the team that achieved the historic sale to Amazon in 2022.

“Now, after months of collaborative transition efforts, we have thoughtfully reorganized our teams so that they all have the opportunity to prosper under the leadership of Mike Hopkins, Jennifer Salke and Christopher Brearton. In these days of media layoffs, I am proud to say that everyone in the TV division has been offered a way to continue to contribute. No one was left behind.”

Burnett went on to say that while he is stepping away from day-to-day management, he will continue to oversee his legacy series. He plans to get “back into independently creating and innovating” as a creator and producer.

In a separate memo, Hopkins, senior VP of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, thanked Burnett for “his countless contributions to our success and, on a personal level, for his partnership and counsel throughout the integration. 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.”

He added: “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.

“I am incredibly proud of the outstanding television and film content that we produce, and look forward to 2023 and beyond, when as a fully integrated team, we continue to build on this legacy.”