Mike Darnell (pictured), president of Warner Bros. Unscripted & Alternative Television, will be inducted into the Realscreen Awards Hall of Fame on June 7, 2017, during the Realscreen Awards ceremony in Santa Monica.
Widely known as one of the most influential and highly regarded executives in the history of the reality genre, Darnell began his professional television career in the news department of the FOX owned-and-operated Los Angeles affiliate, KTTV-TV. He went on to serve as a producer of specials for the FOX Television Station Group, and joined the FOX Network in 1994 as director of specials.
Prior to joining Warner Bros., Darnell served as president of Alternative Entertainment at FOX Broadcasting Company. During his 19 years at the network, he was responsible for hundreds of series and specials, including American Idol and Family Guy, as well as Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance, Kitchen Nightmares, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Temptation Island, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé, The Simple Life and Joe Millionaire. Darnell’s breakthrough success at the network was with specials like Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?, When Animals Attack and World’s Scariest Police Chases.
Darnell joined Warner Bros. in August 2013. In his current role, he supervises all of the Studio’s unscripted TV content creation and oversees three Warner Bros. companies: Warner Horizon Unscripted Television, Telepictures Productions and Shed Media. Darnell’s division currently oversees 35 series across 20 different networks in broadcast, cable and syndication.
Darnell’s Unscripted & Alternative division is the biggest provider of primetime unscripted programming and is responsible for some of the top reality shows on broadcast television, including Little Big Shots starring Steve Harvey on NBC (which has been sold to nearly 20 countries around the world since its U.S. launch), the top unscripted series in primetime, The Voice, and the longest-running relationship franchise with The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, all from Warner Horizon.
Darnell and his three development teams also have an unprecedented slate of new primetime series, including a revival of Love Connection for FOX, hosted by Andy Cohen, and four upcoming series for NBC, including the Ellen DeGeneres–hosted Ellen’s Game of Games; First Dates, narrated by Drew Barrymore; Genius Junior, with host Neil Patrick Harris; and Little Big Shots: Forever Young, also starring Steve Harvey.
Darnell’s division is also responsible for more than 300 hours of programming in cable, which includes the Emmy-winning, Shed Media–produced series Who Do You Think You Are? as well as Long Lost Family for TLC, Basketball Wives for VH1, the Happily Ever After? series for Freeform and The Real Housewives of New York City for Bravo, among others.
And in first-run syndication, Darnell’s Telepictures division produces the Emmy-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show, TMZ and TMZ Live, as well as Crime Watch Daily with Chris Hansen, Extra, Judge Mathis, The People’s Court and The Real. In addition, Telepictures Digital is responsible for a variety of sites and apps, including ellentube.com, TMZ.com and Heads Up!, the No. 1 paid app for the last three years.
“Mike Darnell is a true pioneer of the reality genre, and is responsible for some of the biggest programming hits on television over the last two decades,” said Claire Macdonald, VP, publisher, realscreen. “We are delighted to recognize his contribution to the industry as he enters the Realscreen Hall of Fame.”
For more information on the Realscreen Awards, click here.