Kurtzman first teamed with Orci on television on the syndicated series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. After they produced several storylines to cope with the absence of lead actor Kevin Sorbo following a stroke during the first season, Kurtzman and Orci were placed in charge of the show. They were both aged 24. They moved into films after they were asked to rewrite Michael Bay's The Island. The film earned $162 million at the box office on a budget of $126 million, which was a sufficient success that they were brought back for Bay's Transformers, which earned $710 million. The Island, Transformers and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, although not particularly well received by critics, earned a combined $1.7 billion. They wrote the 2009 film Star Trek alongside J. J. Abrams, with whom they had co-created the Foxscience-fiction series Fringe. After the pilot, Kurtzman served as consulting producer on the show for the remainder of its run.
In 2011, Forbes magazine described Orci and Kurtzman as "Hollywood's Secret Weapons" as over the course of the previous six years, their films grossed a combined total of over $3 billion at the box office. The partnership also wrote People like Us, originally known as Welcome to People, which was Kurtzman's directorial debut.
Since 2002, Kurtzman has been married to Samantha Counter, daughter of lawyer Nick Counter.