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, including more than 25 series as of May 2016 and the top three reality shows of the 2015–16 television season among Adults 18–49: The Voice, Little Big Shots and The Bachelor. He has oversight of Telepictures, one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of first-run programming for the syndicated marketplace as well as cable, and an innovator in the digital space. Darnell also oversees all reality-based programming produced by the highly successful Warner Horizon Unscripted Television for the broadcast network and cable marketplace, as well as Shed Media.
Warner Horizon Unscripted Television’s slate includes top-rated music competition series The Voice and the breakout hit variety/comedy series Little Big Shots for NBC as well as the long-running The Bachelor franchise—which also includes The Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise and After Paradise—and event game show 500 Questions for ABC, among others.
Telepictures’ current series include the Emmy®-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Crime Watch Daily, Extra, Judge Mathis, The People’s Court, The Real, TMZ and TMZ Live for syndication. For cable, Telepictures produces Ellen’s Design Challenge for HGTV, Hello Goodbye (in association with Shed Media) for Travel Channel and TMZ Sports for FS1. And Telepictures is also producing the all-new alternative/sketch comedy series MADtv for The CW.
Shed Media’s series include the upcoming First Dates for NBC, Basketball Wives for VH1, Hello Goodbye (in association with Telepictures) for Travel Channel, Livin’ Lozada for OWN, Long Lost Family and Who Do You Think You Are? for TLC, and The Real Housewives of New York City for Bravo, among others.
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. 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, MasterChef, 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.