Mark Burnett has explained the origin of his distinctive beard, and also discussed how he’s become such a prolific producer of high-quality, frequently popular reality television.
The Mark Burnett beard origin story
First, the most-important answer. In an interview with AdWeek, Burnett describes why he grew his facial hair. Honestly, though, his answer is only slightly satisfying because it raises so many more questions:
“It was the beginning of Lent last year, and I just decided it was time. I thought I would keep it for six weeks, and it’s a year later.”
If I ever get the chance to have him berate me over my stupid questions again, I shall definitely follow up.
Burnett explains his success
Meanwhile, Burnett currently has 11 series and specials on broadcast networks, and more on cable. How does he simultaneously produced Survivor, Shark Tank, The Celebrity Apprentice, The Voice, and other massive, high-quality series? He explains in two separate answers:
“I’m not really juggling. I’ve got a really good team of people, and a lot of them have worked for me for the entire time. The key is to always hire people who are better than you.”
It’s the team. There’s a certain esprit de corps—it’s a military word in that when you’re playing on a top team, you play better. How much do you think people would like to have a hit show? You can work on one of 500 shows, but if you’re the person working on The Voice or Survivor or Shark Tank or The Bible or A.D. and on and on, it feels great to go home and say, ‘Hey, we just won another game!’ It’s really good to play on those teams. So it’s less about me; it’s more about them. All I’ve done is create the culture.”
That’s quite generous for him to give the credit to his teams–who do run their respective shows. He’s no longer on location with Survivor like he once was, for example. And it really is all of those people who’ve created the unscripted television we love.