Mark Burnett says key to his Survivor success was “fak[ing] it.”

Mark Burnett’s key to his Survivor success: “fake it till you make it!”
How do you become the most successful and respected reality television producer in the country? Mark Burnett says that you “fake it.” In Toronto, he told the Power Within audience, “You can’t figure it out all in advance. The best you can hope for is that you’ll have five out of 10 things figured out and you jump in, even if you can’t swim, and you know you’ll sort the rest as you go. And you fake it till you make it!” According to the CP’s report, “He said the scariest day of his life was when CBS gave him the green light for the first Survivor series. Although he didn’t have a clue how he was going to pull off his dream of a contest that was part Robinson Crusoe, part Lord of the Flies, he believed in it even if he had bluffed the network into thinking he knew what he was doing.” Burnett also discussed pre-Sept. 11 plans for a Survivor Arabia near the Jordan and Saudi Arabian border, troubles surrounding the filming of Survivor Marquesas, and the fact that Richard Hatch’s alliance idea completely took him by surprise. In other Mark Burnett news, the announcement that he’ll work with Martha Stewart to retool “Martha Stewart Living” and create a new prime-time series (in exchange for 2.5 million shares of stock) caused that stock to jump about $15, a two-year high.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.