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 nearly 30 series as of January 2015. 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 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, as well as Shed Media.
Telepictures’ current series include the Emmy®-winning The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the game-changing TMZ franchise—which includes the syndicated TMZ and TMZ Live as well as TMZ Hollywood Sports for REELZ—long-running entertainment news program Extra, talk show The Real, court shows Judge Mathis and The People’s Court, quiz show Let’s Ask America and reality series Candidly Nicole for VH1. Upcoming series include Crime Watch Daily (debuting in fall 2015 in syndication), Ellen’s Design Challenge for HGTV and Hello Goodbye for Travel Channel.
Warner Horizon Unscripted Television’s slate includes the #1 reality show on network television, The Voice, for NBC, as well as the long-running The Bachelor franchise—which also includes The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise — and upcoming event game show 500 Questions for ABC.
Shed Media’s series include The Real Housewives of New York City for Bravo; Who Do You Think You Are? for TLC; Basketball Wives for VH1; Child Genius for Lifetime; Eric & Jessie: Game On for E!; and My Dysfunctional Family for CMT, 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.