18 Nov 2017
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Mark Burnett is MGM Television and Digital Group president

MUMBAI: Mark Burnett has been named MGM Television and Digital Group president.

The announcement was made by MGM chairman, CEO Gary Barber. Burnett, who signed a 5-year contract, will report directly to Barber.

Burnett’s new appointment will occur simultaneously with the closing of MGM’s acquisition of the remaining 45 per cent of Hearst’s, Burnett’s and Roma Downey‘s interests in United Artists Media Group (UAMG), which will be absorbed under the MGM Television Group umbrella.

“Mark Burnett is one of the most successful producers in television and a highly sought-after executive in content creation. His leadership is the next step in our never-ending quest to expand and grow our television and digital businesses. Combining all of our TV content efforts under the purview of this unparalleled chief is incredibly exciting. Additionally, we believe this synergistic transaction will be very accretive to MGM,” said Barber.

Burnett and Downey will exchange their 23 per cent interest in UAMG for 1,337,360 shares of MGM stock valued at $90 per share. Hearst will receive $113.5 million in cash for their 22 per cent interest. This transaction will enable the complete integration of UAMG’s and MGM’s television businesses and the consolidation of their operations.

The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of 2016 and was value-based upon the original deal parameters established when MGM acquired the initial 55 per cent of UAMG in 2014, less distributions. The planned OTT channel will remain a separate entity controlled by its investors, Downey, Burnett, Hearst and MGM.

“Joining MGM under the incredible leadership of Gary Barber is an exciting new chapter of my television career. Demand for quality content is stronger than ever and the opportunities to grow our pipeline and develop projects from the wealth of Intellectual Property in the MGM and United Artists libraries are enormous. There is no better time to be creating premium content for distribution across multiple platforms,“ said Burnett

Downey said, “We have entered into an era where faith-based and family programming is experiencing a creative renaissance. I am so excited and grateful to head up the team at LightWorkers Media under MGM. This is an enthusiastic marketplace that inspires us every day to create and curate new, thoughtful and dynamic content for all screens in the distribution landscape.”