President, Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television
One of the most highly regarded and influential figures in the history of reality TV programming in the U.S., Mike Darnell serves as President, Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative Television. He joined the Studio in August 2013 and reports to Peter Roth, President and Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Television Group.
In this role, Darnell has supervision of all of the Studio’s reality-based TV content creation. He has oversight of Telepictures Productions, one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of first-run programming for the syndicated marketplace, as well as an innovator in the digital space with TMZ.com. Darnell also oversees all reality-based programming produced by the highly successful Warner Horizon Unscripted Television for the broadcast network and cable marketplace.
Telepictures has nine series on the air for summer 2013 and the 2013–14 season: the Emmy®-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show, new talk show Bethenny, the game-changing entertainment show TMZ and its brand extension TMZ Live, the long-running entertainment news program Extra, court shows Judge Mathis and The People’s Court, quiz show Let’s Ask America and talk show The Real, a four-week summer 2013 test in select markets via the FOX Television Stations.
Warner Horizon Unscripted Television’s nine current series include the #1 reality show on network television, The Voice, for NBC; the long-running The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchise for ABC; competition programs Capture, Famous in 12 and Oh Sit! for The CW; Deon Cole’s Black Box and Who Gets the Last Laugh? for TBS; and Marshal Law: Texas for TNT.
Prior to joining Warner Bros., Darnell had served as President of Alternative Entertainment, FOX Broadcasting Company, from August 2007–May 2013. In that capacity, he was responsible for the development and oversight of the network’s alternative and unscripted series, as well as original movies and specials. Most recently, some of Darnell’s most successful projects include long-running hit series American Idol, as well as Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen, So You Think You Can Dance and MasterChef. Past projects include Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, Don’t Forget the Lyrics!, Temptation Island, Joe Millionaire, The Simple Life, My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé, Family Guy and Futurama.
Darnell joined the FOX network in August 1994 as Director of Specials. Before that, he had served for three years as an executive producer of specials for the Fox Television Station Group, after beginning his career in the news department of the network’s owned-and-operated Los Angeles affiliate, KTTV-TV.