However, MGM hasn’t invested enough in Lightworkers to turn it into something more than LightTV, a rare television channel that shows scattered shows and family reruns. Lightworkers’ biggest bet on MGM, the 2016 $ 100 million movie “Ben-Hur,” lost money. The recurring promise of a powerful streaming service never came true.
The relationship between Mr. Burnett and Mr. Trump also casts a shadow over his run at MGM. He has long been part of a sort of media industry kitchen cabinet for developers, along with CNN chief Jeff Zucker and talent agent Arie Manuel, who put “The Apprentice” on NBC. He and Ms. Downey usually endorse Democrats (Ms. Downey wrote a check for Marianne Williamson’s 2014 California State Legislature campaign), and in 2016 he actually bid for her friend’s White House. Said he did not support it.
Burnett promised his colleagues that his friendship with the president would be great for the business, but he was also very sensitive to the criticisms of his old friends. He was particularly opposed, said two people present at the time when MGM board member Jason Hirshhorn began to sharply criticize Mr. Trump in his newsletter REDEF in 2016. MGM spokesman Katie Martin Kelly declined to comment on Hirshhorn’s “at the time of the official statement, it caused friction for many of MGM’s people,” said Hirshhorn, who left the board in 2017. I did.
Since the 2016 election, Mr. Burnett has defeated the proposal to support the Republican National Convention by making great efforts to keep him publicly distant from Mr. Trump. “They weren’t in touch and he wasn’t involved in the president’s public activities regarding the hospitalization of Covid-19,” Kelly said in an email.
Mr. Trump is just one thread of MGM’s internal tensions involving Mr. Burnett. He has always been a difficult boss, and even before the pandemic, he was not an office-bound manager, but a townsman trading maker. With little opinion about the success of the company’s screenplay divisions such as “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “Fargo,” division leader Steve Stark was recently forced to clarify to The Hollywood Reporter, which Burnett told him. I am reporting. .. He played a role in the nasty 2018 expulsion of Mr. Barber, who runs the company without a CEO. Today, MGM is exposed to rumors of a long-standing acquisition, depending on factors beyond its control. We hope that the theater will be full and the culture will prepare for the “live” revival for the release of the new James Bond movie next year. PD, the acquisition of Burnett, canceled this summer in a wave of rebellion against police violence.
After Barber’s expulsion, Burnett announced that he and Downey would raise $ 100 million to launch a Lightworker subscription service. However, according to Kelly, these plans have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, but “conversations are ongoing and are expected to continue.” For now, Lightworkers are producing MGM content, but recently a feature film called “Resurrection” has been completed. We also reduced our digital presence in July and removed much of the content from the Internet, including an article about Charlotte Pence Bond, the daughter of Vice President Mike Pence. (One had the headline “Are you self-euphoric? Let’s find out.”)
Burnett did not respond to the interview request, either directly or through an MGM spokeswoman. After appearing in the headlines for years, he kept his profile low, and his name didn’t appear in MGM’s recent pessimistic Wall Street Journal assessment of finances. .. Some of his older partners, such as CBS’s Les Moonves and NBC’s Paul Telegdy, have been kicked out of their position, and new-generation network executives don’t jump that fast on his phone. But even if he’s not a former producer, he’s still closing the deal. In 2018, Amazon Prime revived a show called “Eco Challenge,” which Barnett began producing in the 1990s, but MGM confirmed that Amazon had discontinued plans for the second season. When I asked MGM’s Chief Communications Officer, Kelly, about the perception that Burnett had lost his creative touch, she responded in a series of his many years of shows.