"If you're a person who needs to be sure and have 100% of things lined up logistically, financially, common sense-wise before you take a step, you will go nowhere. You have to jump in. You have to be about half sure, and believe that you'll figure out the other half on the way. Every TV production I've ever done, I haven't had enough money or enough time, so if I actually were a worry wart, I wouldn't have done any of them. I've made huge mistakes, and I'll tell my people who make mistakes, you know what? I'd rather you make mistakes than just be safe and do nothing."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Mark Burnett details his upbringing in England and his time in the British Army before discussing his move to Los Angeles, CA. He describes several of the jobs he held before venturing into television production and recounts his love of the outdoors and adventure sports -- passions that led to his involvement with the physically demanding Eco-Challenge race and its corresponding television show. Such experience proved invaluable for his next hit competition-based reality series -- and perhaps the show most closely identified with him -- Survivor. Burnett goes on to discuss the production of Survivor, as well as that of several of his other successes, including The Apprentice and Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? He also touches on a few of his more short-lived series, like The Contender and The Restaurant, and comments on what the term "reality television" means to him. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview in two parts: on September 1, 2010 in Santa Monica, CA and on September 29, 2010 in Malibu, CA.