Monday, Apr. 26, 2004

Mark Burnett

I had never planned on being the star of a hit TV show until Mark Burnett came to me to do The Apprentice. He convinced me by promising that it would require no more than three hours per week of my time. It turned out to be more than 30. But I'm not complaining. His idea to keep the show close to the way I operate in my business life was, I think, crucial to its success. He found that very interesting, and at first I couldn't see why. Now I do.

ark Burnett is a great visionary, able to see into the future with far better accuracy than any of his competitors. His No. 1 talent is having the right idea at the right time. Where that kind of talent comes from is always a bit of a mystery, but I think his insight into our culture has to do with coming from Britain. Being new to a culture can make your observations more acute. Also, he was filled with determination and confidence that he would be a success, even while he was selling T shirts in California's Venice Beach. His reality-TV shows, starting with Survivor, have changed the television industry. He has made a great contribution, not just in entertainment but in the educational arena as well. The Apprentice shows that business is competitive; there is strategy involved; there are responses to certain situations that are better than others. Watching these interactions can give the viewer helpful insights into the business world. The positive impact of his efforts has been seen and felt by tens of millions of people.

Trump is the President and CEO of the Trump Organization

From the Archive
Why Reality TV Is Good For Us: TIME media critic James Poniewozik says don't listen to those who make you feel guilty for having watched this week's finales of Joe Millionaire and The Bachelorette