Burt Kearns

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Burt Kearns is an American television and film producer, writer, director, journalist and author, known for his influential work in reality television and his controversial 1999 tabloid television memoir, Tabloid Baby.[1][2]

Television and film production[edit]

Writer and producer[edit]

Kearns is in demand as a nonfiction television producer, writer, showrunner and consultant on series and shows as diverse as Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura, Guinness World Records Unleashed and True Tori.

Kearns was executive producer and featured on-camera in the nonfiction special program, Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson,[3] which premiered on June 13, 2016 on the Reelz channel. He was an executive producer of the 2016 Reelz documentary special, El Chapo & Sean Penn: Bungle In The Jungle’'.[4]

In 2015, he was co-executive producer of the second season of the truTV reality series, Way Out West;[5] co-executive producer, writer and showrunner of True Tori: True Confessions,[6] a one-hour special that kicked off the second season of the hit reality series, True Tori on Lifetime, and L.A. Hair Confidential, the one-hour fourth season reunion and clip show on WE tv; and consulting producer on Tori Spelling: Celebrity Lie Detector, on Lifetime; Monster Island, a Monster Week special on Animal Planet;[7] and Second Chance Chihuahuas for NatGeo WIld.[8]

He was consulting producer on the first season of True Tori and co-executive producer of the WE tv series, Mystery Millionaire, in 2014; and executive producer and showrunner of the truTV reality television arena competition series, Guinness World Records Unleashed, co-executive producer of its first season, Guinness World Records Gone Wild, and production consultant on the SyFy series, Joe Rogan Questions Everything in 2013.

From 2008 though 2012, Kearns was executive producer and showrunner of the truTV reality documentary series, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. [9][10][11] He was executive producer and showrunner for two seasons of Speed (TV channel)'s hit series, Dumbest Stuff on Wheels (2011-2012), and co-executive producer of the 2011 Syfy series, Legend Quest,[12] and Shadow Operations: The Mars Project,[13] a truTV documentary special about the work of Project Camelot.

He produced the documentary films Death of a Beatle (2000) and Bin Laden’s Escape (2005) (with Parco Productions). Directed and produced the documentary, Boxing: A Different Look for Showtime and Hollywood Animal Crusaders (featuring John Travolta, Cher, Don Johnson & Esai Morales) for Animal Planet. Co-producer of the HBO documentary Panic, starring Kim Basinger. Producer of Fox Television special, When Good Pets Go Bad 2, and executive producer of the syndicated series, Strange Universe.

Independent features and Good Story Productions[edit]

High There DVD cover.

Kearns produced (and edited) the nonfiction film comedy, High There.[14][15][16]

High There premiered August 25, 2014 as an official selection of the Action on Film International Film Festival in Monrovia, California. On May 3, 2015, the film won the Viewers' Choice Award at first annual Cannabis Film Festival in Humboldt County, California.[17]

It was released on VOD and limited edition DVD by BRINKvision on June 23, 2015.[18]

Kearns directed, wrote and produced the nonfiction feature film, El Viaje Musical de Ezekiel Montanez: The Chris Montez Story, which was previewed as a work-in-progress on August 15, 2009 at the 35th annual The Fest For Beatles Fans in Chicago,[19] November 21, 2009 at the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival [20] and May 14, 2010 at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival.[21]

All films were produced through his Good Story Productions[22] production company.[23]

Kearns and Good Story Productions also produced the documentary short, High Times & Low Expectations,[24] which was included on the High There DVD, and created and produced the online and video campaign for the launch of the Terry O'Neill photography exhibit that opened in December 2014 at the SLS Las Vegas Iconic Images Gallery.[25]

Frozen Pictures[edit]

In 2000, Kearns formed the production company Frozen Television (later Frozen Pictures) with producer Brett Hudson, formerly of the Hudson Brothers musical comedy team. Kearns directed, wrote and produced many television shows and series under the Frozen banner, including the documentary series Adults Only: The Secret History of The Other Hollywood and The Secret History of Rock ‘n’ Roll with Gene Simmons for Court TV, All the Presidents' Movies,[26] narrated by Martin Sheen for Bravo, the Showtime late night series My First Time, and episodes of the Court TV series, Mugshots.[27]

The Seventh Python movie poster.jpg

He directed and produced the 2008 Frozen Pictures documentary musical film, The Seventh Python, about the career and influence of Monty Python collaborator and Bonzo Dog Band member Neil Innes, and directed and produced Basketball Man,[28] the 2007 Frozen Pictures documentary film that featured basketball stars and legends telling the story of the life and legacy of the game's inventor, Dr. James Naismith. The film was released on DVD on May 8, 2007. (During the production of Basketball Man, Kearns conducted Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach's last interview.)[29]

Creator, producer and director of Frozen Pictures' The Michael Lohan Reality Project,[30] and American Dunkleman,[31][32][33] both of which became viral sensations when their pitch tapes were released on the Internet.

Kearns received international attention,[34] including front page stories in the New York Times[35] and USA Today,[36] for his controversial Saintmychal.com website and documentary project that chronicled and inherently promoted the canonization of 9/11 hero Rev. Mychal Judge.

Cloud 9[edit]

Kearns wrote and produced the 20th Century Fox movie, Cloud 9 (starring Burt Reynolds), along with Hudson and Academy Award winner Albert S. Ruddy.[37] The film, a joint production of Frozen Pictures, Ruddy Morgan Productions and Graymark Productions, was released on DVD by 20th Century Home Entertainment on January 3, 2006.[38]

Tabloid Baby[edit]

Books.jpeg

Left tabloid television and began writing Tabloid Baby in 1996.

A combination memoir, mea culpa and exposé, the book was published in November 1999 by Hambleton-Hill's Celebrity Books imprint, and became an immediate sensation.

The book was praised by Mike Wallace of CBS News' 60 Minutes as "sad, funny, undeniably authentic" and by tabloid television host Maury Povich as "The Bible."[39]

Kearns embarked on a cross-country signing tour after network news bosses reacted to his revelations about the television industry by canceling many of his scheduled television appearances.[40][41]

Early career[edit]

Burt Kearns with Joey Ramone, Nov. 1978

Graduated from Fairfield University; became a reporter and editor for newspapers in southern Connecticut and Westchester, New York. After John Lennon's assassination on December 8, 1980, he moved to Manhattan, where he worked for neighborhood newspapers including The Westsider, East Side Express and Chelsea-Clinton News, and later at the assignment desk and as newswriter and show producer at WNEW-TV's 10 O'Clock News. Kearns became a producer and writer for such New York City news operations as WNBC-TV's News 4 New York and CBS News' Nightwatch and CBS Morning News.[42] With a background as a music writer and early chronicler of the punk music scene early in his newspaper career,[43][44] he also moonlighted as a writer for Spin magazine.[45][46][47][48]

Hired by Rupert Murdoch's 20th Century Fox as managing editor of the nightly tabloid television series, A Current Affair in the late 1980s, he helped develop and expand the tabloid television genre. In 1990, Kearns accompanied executive producer and genre inventor Peter Brennan to Hollywood, where, as managing editor and producer of Hard Copy (1990–1993) and Premier Story (1994), he continued to be an influential figure in the heyday of tabloid television.[49][50][51] The range of his influence on the genre and its participants was laid out clearly in the 2012 biography, Mike Wallace: A Life by Peter Rader [52] and Australian television executive Gerald Stone's 2011 memoir, Say It with Feeling.[53]

Kearns (and his exploits covering the fall of the Berlin Wall) was featured in Maury Povich's 1991 memoir, Current Affairs: A Life on the Edge.[54] He was the model for the character Al Bunker, the tabloid television producer covering the fall of the Berlin Wall in Thomas Keneally's 1993 novel, Jacko: The Great Intruder.[55]

Awards[edit]

Burt Kearns newswriting Emmy.jpg

Winner of 2015 Cannabis Film Festival Viewers Choice Award as producer of High There.[56]

Winner of 2009 Las Vegas Film Festival Golden Ace Award[57] for directing and producing The Seventh Python.[58]

Emmy-winning newswriter, honored by New York chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for contributing to the winning of Outstanding News Broadcast Emmy by WNBC-TV's News 4 New York at 6PM.[59]

True Tabloid Star[edit]

In addition to numerous television appearances promoting his book, Kearns has appeared as an expert or "talking head" on many television specials and documentaries, including Kardashian: The Man Who Saved OJ Simpson,[60] Fame for 15,[61] Victim 001,[62] Rock Stars Do The Dumbest Things,[63] Headliners & Legends with Matt Lauer [64] and When Cameras Cross The Line.[65] He was also featured alongside Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, Sally Jesse Raphael and Deborah Norville in the documentary, 15 Minutes of True Tabloid Stars,[66] which was an extra on the DVD version of the movie, 15 Minutes, starring Robert De Niro, Edward Burns and Kelsey Grammer.

Personal life[edit]

Kearns returned to tabloid journalism in 2005, working once again with mentor Peter Brennan, as consulting producer to short-lived revival of A Current Affair. Kearns is married to television producer and journalist Alison Holloway.[67] The couple has two children.

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "welcome". Burt Kearns. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  4. ^ "The truth behind Sean Penn's 'bungle in the jungle'". Mail Online. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  5. ^ "truTV | Reality TV | Comedy". www.trutv.com. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  7. ^ "About Monster Week: You've Been Warned". Animal Planet. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  10. ^ "Wrestling News | Sports Entertainment". SEScoops. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  13. ^ "TV PILOT: SHADOW OPERATIONS: THE MARS PROJECT TONIGHT ON TruTV". Golden Age Of Truth. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  14. ^ Darwen, Wayne; Goren, Henry (2015-06-23), High There, retrieved 2016-04-09 
  15. ^ Diaz, Dave. "High There". Anchorage Press. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  16. ^ "An Interview with Burt Kearns, Producer - High There - The Documentary Dude". The Documentary Dude. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  17. ^ "High There Wins Viewers Choice Award at 1st Cannabis Film Festival". www.420magazine.com. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  18. ^ "BRINKvision to release "High There" on DVD & On Demand June 23rd". PRWeb. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  19. ^ Tabloidbaby (2009-08-16). "tabloid baby: The more they saw Chris Montez at the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago, the more they wanted to call him". tabloid baby. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  33. ^ Rushfield, Richard (2011-01-18). American Idol: The Untold Story. Hachette Books. ISBN 9781401396527. 
  34. ^ "Ocala Star-Banner - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  35. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. (2002-09-27). "Killed on 9/11, Fire Chaplain Becomes Larger Than Life". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  36. ^ "USATODAY.com - The making of St. Mychal". usatoday30.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  38. ^ 2am, mrrickers 11 October 2013 at. "Cloud 9 (2006)". Why Does It Exist?. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  46. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (1988-09-01). SPIN. SPIN Media LLC. 
  47. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (1988-11-01). SPIN. SPIN Media LLC. 
  48. ^ LLC, SPIN Media (1989-03-01). SPIN. SPIN Media LLC. 
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  52. ^ Rader, Peter (2012-01-01). Mike Wallace: A Life. Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. ISBN 9781410448927. 
  53. ^ "Say it with Feeling - Pan Macmillan Australia". www.panmacmillan.com.au. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  54. ^ Povich, Maury (1992-01-01). Current Affairs: A Life on the Edge. Berkley Books. ISBN 9780425132449. 
  55. ^ "BOOK REVIEW / Mateship, the media and tele-mayhem: Jacko - The great". The Independent. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
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  57. ^ "Las Vegas International Film Festival (2009)". Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  58. ^ Tabloidbaby (2009-04-13). "tabloid baby: The Seventh Python wins Vegas Golden Ace Award". tabloid baby. Retrieved 2016-04-09. 
  59. ^ Goodstory (2014-03-31), English: The New York Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences honors Burt Kearns, newswriter, for contributing to the winning of an Area Television Academy Award by News 4 New York (6pm) WNBC-TV, chosen Outstanding News Broadcast, retrieved 2016-04-09 
  60. ^ https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9J_ve5Etjs0/V3bO-HWVBCI/AAAAAAAAAdQ/ANxGSh_h260DAqRzA5BQJ0zYRGQvSbBNACLcB/s1600/BURT%2BKEARNS%2BKARDASHIAN%2BREELZ%2BGRAPHIC.jpg
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External links[edit]