Realscreen West is pleased to announce that in addition to being honored as an inductee into the Realscreen Awards Hall of Fame, television trailblazer Mike Darnell will also be featured as one of the exclusive keynote speakers headlining the upcoming industry conference in Santa Monica.
As president of unscripted and alternative television at Warner Bros., Darnell runs three Warner Bros. companies – Warner Horizon Alternative Television, Telepictures Productions and Shed Media – and currently oversees more than 35 series in broadcast, cable and syndication. Darnell’s division produces such primetime hits as Little Big Shots starring Steve Harvey (NBC), plus the upcoming spin-off Little Big Shots: Forever Young; the top unscripted series, The Voice (NBC); the longest-running relationship franchise with The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise (ABC); and First Dates (NBC). In addition, Darnell’s division is producing the primetime revival of Love Connection on FOX, hosted by Andy Cohen, as well as NBC’s upcoming Genius Junior, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, and the Ellen DeGeneres-hosted Ellen’s Game of Games, among others.
Before Warner Bros., Darnell cemented his status as one of the most influential executives in television history through his 19-year career at Fox Broadcasting Company, where, as president of alternative programming for the network, he was responsible for hundreds of series and specials, including Hell’s Kitchen, MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance, Kitchen Nightmares, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Temptation Island, The Simple Life, Joe Millionaire, Family Guy and, of course, the mega-hit American Idol.
In this special keynote conversation, which is scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. on June 7, Darnell will be joined by longtime friend and fellow unscripted television veteran Mark Itkin. Over the course of a 34-year career, the veteran WME agent whom Darnell regards as “simply the best in the business,” packaged such staples as The Real World, Project Runway, Deal or No Deal and Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and was also a trailblazing force when it came to bringing international formats such as Big Brother and Hell’s Kitchen to the U.S. After retiring from the agency business in 2015, Itkin recently announced that he is joining the board of Santa Monica-based streaming television company TV4 as a senior advisor.