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August 1, 2014

5 Questions With: Mark Burnett

by Kim Potts, posted Jun 16th 2009 6:00AM
Here come the brides and grooms, Mark Burnett style. The Emmy-winning 'Survivor' producer's latest show, 'Wedding Day' (June 16, 8PM ET, TNT), gives a chance at a dream wedding to 10 deserving couples -- including a bride who survived a near-fatal car crash, Army captains flown back from Iraq to say "I do" and a pair of LAPD officers with commendations for their community work.

Burnett, who'll receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later this year, will reunite with 'Celebrity Apprentice' winner Joan Rivers on the upcoming TV Land reality show 'How'd You Get So Rich?' (August 6, 9PM ET). He talked to AOL TV about his new shows, why Joan Rivers is his role model and whether we'll ever see a season of 'Celebrity Survivor.' -- By Kimberly Potts Here come the brides and grooms, Mark Burnett style. The Emmy-winning 'Survivor' producer's latest show, 'Wedding Day' (June 16, 8PM ET, TNT), gives a chance at a dream wedding to 10 deserving couples -- including a bride who survived a near-fatal car crash, Army captains flown back from Iraq to say "I do" and a pair of LAPD officers with commendations for their community work.

Burnett, who'll receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame later this year, will reunite with 'Celebrity Apprentice' winner Joan Rivers on the upcoming TV Land reality show 'How'd You Get So Rich?' (August 6, 9PM ET). He talked to AOL TV about his new shows, why Joan Rivers is his role model and whether we'll ever see a season of 'Celebrity Survivor.' -- By Kimberly Potts

1. Why did you choose a wedding theme for your latest reality show?
I had been looking for a project to do with TNT, and it was a theme that was brought to me by both DreamWorks and TNT, saying "What do you think about doing a wedding show?" And my first reaction was, "Wedding show?! I don't know if I know how to do that." But then I started looking at the casting, and I realized what incredible stories there were, of people who absolutely have given so much of themselves, over and over, some of them through their jobs, as cops, firefighters, military and teachers ... and some who've done charity work. So now, they're in love and they're about to get married, but they can't afford their dream wedding. They're about to have less than what they wanted, but they're not going to complain. Here we find these people, and through the money from TNT, we can really give them that dream wedding. So when I saw those stories, I was taken with it and I committed. And I'm really, really proud of it. It's another uplifting show.


Mark Burnett Wedding Day' Photos

    NEW YORK - JUNE 15: Taxicabs outfitted with a message about TNT's new Original Series "Wedding Day" with "Random Acts of Brideness" Free Taxicab Ride Promotion in New York City at Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - JUNE 15: A shot of one of the 25 brides and grooms that took part in the promotion for the TNT program Wedding Day, in which New Yorkers were offered free cab rides as part of TNT's WEDDING DAY - Random Acts of Brideness promotion at Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2009 in New York City 18455_0192.jpg TNT's WEDDING DAY - "Random Acts Of Brideness" Promotion Times Square New York, NY United States June 15, 2009 Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage.com To license this image (16839671), contact WireImage.com

    Jemal Countess/WireImage.com

    NEW YORK - JUNE 15: 25 brides and grooms offer New Yorkers free cab rides as part of TNT's WEDDING DAY - Random Acts of Brideness promotion at Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2009 in New York City 18455_0215.JPG TNT's WEDDING DAY - "Random Acts Of Brideness" Promotion Times Square New York, NY United States June 15, 2009 Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage.com To license this image (16839653), contact WireImage.com

    Jemal Countess/WireImage.com

    NEW YORK - JUNE 15: 25 brides and grooms offer New Yorkers free cab rides as part of TNT's WEDDING DAY - Random Acts of Brideness promotion at Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2009 in New York City 18455_0114.JPG TNT's WEDDING DAY - "Random Acts Of Brideness" Promotion Times Square New York, NY United States June 15, 2009 Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage.com To license this image (16839647), contact WireImage.com

    Jemal Countess/WireImage.com

    NEW YORK - JUNE 15: 25 brides and grooms offer New Yorkers free cab rides as part of TNT's WEDDING DAY - Random Acts of Brideness promotion at Grand Central Terminal on June 15, 2009 in New York City 18455_0112.JPG TNT�s WEDDING DAY � "Random Acts Of Brideness" Promotion Times Square New York, NY United States June 15, 2009 Photo by Jemal Countess/WireImage.com To license this image (16839643), contact WireImage.com

    Jemal Countess/WireImage.com

    Alan Dunn of the show "Wedding Day" poses for a picture at the Turner Entertainment Network's Upfront event in New York, Wednesday, May 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    AP

    Diann Valentine of the show "Wedding Day" poses for a picture at the Turner Entertainment Network's Upfront event in New York, Wednesday, May 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

    AP

    NEW YORK - MAY 10: Mark Burnett and Tom Green attend "The Celebrity Apprentice" season finale at the at American Museum of Natural History on May 10, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Burnett;Tom Green

    Getty Images

    NEW YORK - MAY 10: Mark Burnett attends "The Celebrity Apprentice" season finale at the at American Museum of Natural History on May 10, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mark Burnett

    Getty Images

    BEVERLY HILLS, CA - APRIL 22: Producers Allison Grodner, Arthur Smith (C) and Mark Burnett attend The Hollywood Radio and Television Society's Newsmaker Luncheon "Broadcasting Reality - Show Me The Money" panel discussion on April 22, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Allison Grodner;Arthur Smith;Mark Burnett

    Getty Images



2. Is there one couple whose story you found most touching?

All of them -- but Holly and Steve, for sure. We've been working on the show for 18 months now, but I go right back to the beginning when I saw the story of Holly and Steve, and I was like "Oh, I can't believe that!" A few days before their wedding, she gets in the car accident, and she's in a coma, and she can't walk. But then to see Holly walk down the aisle after all that ... and you know, even have her dream shoes, the Manolo Blahnik flats, it's really heartwarming, and it gives you hope. It's a time in our country where that kind of feeling is important.

3. Were you involved with selecting the couples?
Yes, of course, with everything. I felt that the vibe of this show would have the same vibe as 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.' And I had known Janelle Fiorito, who's the 'Extreme Makeover: Home Edition' showrunner, and we got her to run this show for us, because she understood that vibe and that kind of storytelling, and she's fantastic. And then it was a matter of formatting, establishing the story, why this couple is deserving, and then finding what kind of wedding the bride would want, and then surpassing those kinds of expectations. Giving them their dream wedding, but having their family members actually physically contribute to the wedding environment. Most of the time, you go to a family member's wedding, you drink wine, you eat food, you're happy to be there, but in this case, you've actually contributed, you've done something.

4. You recently wrapped 'Celebrity Apprentice,' and Joan Rivers really ended up stealing the whole season. You're going to be working with her on TV Land's 'How'd You Get So Rich?' ...
Yes, and she's great. I've known Joan a long time. She's 75 years of age ... if I have the energy she has in the next couple of years, let alone when I'm 75 ... the woman is a dynamo. She is from the real hard-working generation. [The new show] is really about ... in L.A., at least, you see maps to the stars' homes, you know where they live, you know why they've got big houses. But don't you ever drive around and you see that big house, or someone with a really expensive car, and you're thinking, "Where'd they get the money?" It's a classic question. And so here's a show, 'How'd You Get So Rich?' and Joan makes it really funny. She has her own brand of humor, but it's uplifting. Joan is an honorable, uplifting person, and her point is, wow, this is what America can provide. You work hard, you have good ideas, America is the land of opportunity. And in this time, when a lot of people are going through struggles, I believe many laid-off people are going to start businesses.

5. Both times that you've done 'Celebrity Apprentice,' it's been such compelling TV. So why haven't we seen a celebrity version of 'Survivor' yet?
I think 'Celebrity Apprentice' really reinvented the 'Apprentice' franchise, gave it new life, and 'Survivor' has just gotten stronger and stronger on its own. [A few weeks ago], 'Survivor' beat 'CSI' for the first time. So, I just think that 'Survivor' works fine the way that it is. Would I ever do a charity version of 'Survivor' with celebrities? Yeah, I would, I would do a short charity version, but the celebrities would have to be ready to suffer, because I wouldn't want to compromise the way we do the show.

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