mark burnett

Born 1960 Jul 17
Gender Male
Country United Kingdom

James Mark Burnett was born on July 17, 1960, in London, England. His father, Archie Burnett, is a former member of the Scottish Navy and worked at the Ford Motor Company. His mother, Jean Burnett, worked at a battery compound.

Growing up, Mark Burnett was a big fan of American television series, including Starsky and Hutch and Bonanza. At the age of 17, he joined the British Army and became a section commander in the Parachute Regiment. After several years of service, in 1982, Burnett gave up his military career and moved to California, where he would take on a number of odd jobs, including as a nanny for wealthy families and selling T-shirts on Venice Beach, before finding success in TV.
Burnett experienced his first successful career venture in the early 1990s, when he created Eco-Challenge, a multi-day team competition including racing, trekking, diving and horseback riding, and taking place in Utah. According to Burnett, the event was inspired by the French expedition race Raid Gauloises (in which he later competed—in the 1992 Oman Raid, the 1993 Madagascar Raid and the 1994 Borneo Raid—as a member of Team American Pride). The first Eco-Challenge event was held in 1995. That same year, Burnett created and began producing a show documenting the event for USA Network, Eco-Challenge (1995-2002).

In 1999, Burnett received a Sports Emmy Award for best program achievement for his work on Eco-Challenge