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]

Television and film production[edit]

Writer & 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.

He was co-executive producer of the second season of the truTV reality series, Way Out West [2] (premiering March 27, 2015); co-executive producer, writer and showrunner of True Tori: True Confessions,[3] a one-hour special that kicked off the second season of the hit reality series, True Tori on the Lifetime network;[4] and consulting producer on Monster Island, a Monster Week special on Animal Planet (aired May 21, 2015).[5]

This followed his role as consulting producer on the first season of True Tori. He was co-executive producer of the WE tv series, Mystery Millionaire, which premiered May 30, 2014; executive producer and showrunner of the truTV reality television arena competition series, Guinness World Records Unleashed (premiered November 7, 2013), and co-executive producer of its first season, Guinness World Records Gone Wild (February 7, 2013 premiere).

From 2008 though 2012, Kearns was executive producer and showrunner of the truTV reality documentary series, Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura. He joined the series as co-executive producer and production consultant during post-production of the first (2009-2010) season [6] and took the helm for the second and third seasons (through 2012).[7][8] In 2013, he was production consultant on the SyFy series, Joe Rogan Questions Everything.

Kearns 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,[9] and co-executive producer of Shadow Operations: The Mars Project,[10] a truTV documentary special about the work of Project Camelot, which debuted on November 7, 2012.

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 / Good Story Productions[edit]

Kearns produced (and edited) the nonfiction film comedy, High There,[11][12] which premiered August 25, 2014 as an official selection of the Action on Film International Film Festival in Monrovia, California, won the Viewers' Choice Award at first annual Cannabis Film Festival in Humboldt County, California (on May 3, 2015),[13] and was released on limited edition DVD and On Demand by BRINKvision on June 23, 2015.[14]

He 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,[15] November 21, 2009 at the Paso Robles Digital Film Festival [16] and May 14, 2010 at the Pacific Palisades Film Festival.[17]

All films were produced through his Good Story Productions.[18]

Frozen Pictures[edit]

In 2000, Kearns formed the production company Frozen Television (later Frozen Pictures) with veteran producer Brett Hudson, formerly of the Hudson Brothers. Kearns has written 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,[19] narrated by Martin Sheen for Bravo, the Showtime late night series My First Time, and episodes of the Court TV series, Mugshots.[20]

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,[21] 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. (During the production of Basketball Man, Kearns conducted Boston Celtics legend Red Auerbach's last interview.)[22]

Was also creator, producer and director of Frozen Pictures' The Michael Lohan Reality Project,[23] and American Dunkleman,[24][25][26] both of which became viral sensations when their pitch tapes were released on the Internet.

Kearns received international attention,[27] including front page stories in the New York Times[28] and USA Today,[29] 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.[30] The film was released on DVD by 20th Century Home Entertainment on January 3, 2006.[31]

Tabloid Baby[edit]


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."[32]

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.[33][34]

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, the East Side Express and the 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.[35] With a background as a music writer and early chronicler of the punk music scene early in his newspaper career,[36] he also moonlighted as a writer for Spin magazine.[37][38][39][40]

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 was an influential figure in the heyday of tabloid television.[41][42][43] 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 [44] and Australian television executive Gerald Stone's 2011 memoir, Say It with Feeling.[45]

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.[46] 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.[47]


Burt Kearns newswriting Emmy.jpg

Winner of 2015 Cannabis Film Festival Viewers Choice Award as producer of High There.[48]

Winner of 2009 Las Vegas Film Festival Golden Ace Award[49] for directing and producing The Seventh Python.[50]

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.[51]

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 Fame for 15,[52] Victim 001,[53] Rock Stars Do The Dumbest Things,[54] Headliners & Legends with Matt Lauer [55] and When Cameras Cross The Line.[56] He was also featured alongside Maury Povich, Jerry Springer, Sally Jesse Raphael and Deborah Norville in the documentary, 15 Minutes of True Tabloid Stars,[57] 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.[58] The couple has two children: the artist Sam Kearns and Sally Jade Kearns.



  1. ^ http://www.tabloidbaby.blogspot.com/2010/12/buy-bye.html
  2. ^ http://www.trutv.com/shows/way-out-west/index.html
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dww6nUCQt90
  4. ^ http://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/2014/10/22/tuesday-cable-ratings-sons-of-anarchy-tops-night-19-kids-and-counting-ink-master-tosh-0-more/317912/
  5. ^ http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/monster-week/about/learn-more/
  6. ^ http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/98868324.html?page=2&c=y
  7. ^ http://www.sescoops.com/wrestling-news/other/press-release-for-season-2-of-jesse-venturas-conspiracy-theory/
  8. ^ http://www.trutv.com/shows/conspiracy_theory/index.html
  9. ^ http://www.vidics.ch/it/watch/53351/Legend-Quest.html
  10. ^ http://ascension2012andbeyond.com/tv-pilot-shadow-operations-mars-project-tonight-trutv/
  11. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3408044/
  12. ^ http://www.anchoragepress.com/film/high-there
  13. ^ http://www.420magazine.com/forums/420-documentaries/246179-high-there-wins-viewers-choice-award-1st-cannabis-film-festival.html
  14. ^ http://www.prweb.com/releases/2015/05/prweb12698008.htm
  15. ^ http://tabloidbaby.blogspot.com/2009/08/chris-montez-is-revelation-of-fest-for.html
  16. ^ http://www.pasoroblesfilmfestival.com/Talent/chris_montez.htm
  17. ^ http://tabloidbaby.blogspot.com/2010/05/exclusive-video-chris-montezs-triumph.html
  18. ^ http://www.imdb.com/company/co0136267/
  19. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1336980/fullcredits#cast
  20. ^ http://akas.imdb.com/name/nm0443988/
  21. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0972360/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
  22. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_G8SlZTuIA
  23. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bbs_blMC6cA
  24. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEZMjLhYQVk
  25. ^ http://www.Americandunkleman.com
  26. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=WZw5F7_AUpcC&printsec=frontcover&dq=american+idol+book&hl=en&sa=X&ei=p96-UP7pAoXLrQHm_YCQDQ&ved=0CDUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=american%20dunkleman&f=false
  27. ^ http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1356&dat=20021225&id=-_4jAAAAIBAJ&sjid=1ggEAAAAIBAJ&pg=6662,2987680
  28. ^ http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/27/nyregion/killed-on-9-11-fire-chaplain-becomes-larger-than-life.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm
  29. ^ http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2003-02-19-mychal-cover_x.htm
  30. ^ http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=ibq&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&q=cloud+9+albert+ruddy+burt+kearns&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=
  31. ^ http://whydoesitexist.com/2012/02/16/cloud-9-2006/
  32. ^ http://tabloidbaby.blogspot.com/2010/12/buy-bye.html
  33. ^ http://www.laweekly.com/2000-06-22/art-books/tabloid-baby
  34. ^ http://www.tabloidbaby.com
  35. ^ http://www.fairfield.edu/about/about_search.html?q=burt+kearns&cx=015498946738789627574%3Atpcsrquvlhg&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=UTF-8&siteurl=www.fairfield.edu%2Fdocuments%2Fabout%2Fpubs%2Ffnfall01.pdf#389
  36. ^ https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10203460853537627&set=o.28317327210&type=3&theater
  37. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=gTuFggZ0EsIC&pg=PA462&lpg=PA462&dq=burt+kearns++spin+elvis&source=bl&ots=BjNAa3vDDq&sig=bemhqCX8A95W7XF-b9QZ-oz0btI&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nayxT73MIIiJiAK5vNXhAw&ved=0CFwQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=burt%20kearns%20%20spin%20elvis&f=false
  38. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=DYcbla8ulxkC&pg=PA23&dq=burt+kearns&hl=en&sa=X&ei=e6uxT9X0E4SgiQLu0YGvBA&ved=0CD0Q6AEwADgU#v=onepage&q=burt%20kearns&f=false
  39. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=4ffg2qNLJucC&pg=PA32&dq=burt+kearns&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3aqxT6H5CYvYiQKj-PGVBA&ved=0CEYQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=burt%20kearns&f=false
  40. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=bT9Dc3mzdZ8C&pg=PA62&dq=burt+kearns&hl=en&sa=X&ei=3aqxT6H5CYvYiQKj-PGVBA&ved=0CGgQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=burt%20kearns&f=false
  41. ^ http://www.salon.com/media/col/elde/1999/12/08/tabloid/index.html
  42. ^ http://www.lukeford.net/profiles/profiles/burt_kearns.htm
  43. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=OwOYQFjw-KgC&pg=PA239&dq=burt+kearns&hl=en&sa=X&ei=nr2pT-e2IuibiAL35uCRAQ&ved=0CG8Q6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q=burt%20kearns&f=false
  44. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=LrehuQAACAAJ&dq=mike+wallace+a+life&hl=en&sa=X&ei=olr6U-XPCIO5ogS91IDIBQ&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA
  45. ^ http://www.panmacmillan.com.au/display_title.asp?ISBN=9781742610252&Author=Stone,%20Gerald
  46. ^ http://books.google.com/books?id=SZrZAAAAMAAJ&q=burt+kearns&dq=burt+kearns&hl=en&sa=X&ei=tDX-U5DSFIOvogTEj4LYCg&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBzgU
  47. ^ http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/book-review--mateship-the-media-and-telemayhem-jacko--the-great-intruder-by-thomas-keneally-hodder-pounds-1599-1427466.html
  48. ^ http://www.420magazine.com/forums/420-documentaries/246179-high-there-wins-viewers-choice-award-1st-cannabis-film-festival.html
  49. ^ http://www.imdb.com/event/ev0001530/2009
  50. ^ http://tabloidbaby.blogspot.com/2009/04/seventh-python-wins-vegas-golden-ace.html
  51. ^ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Burt_Kearns_newswriting_Emmy.jpg
  52. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0303459/?ref_=nm_flmg_slf_5
  53. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2544666/?ref_=nm_flmg_slf_3
  54. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414457/?ref_=nm_flmg_slf_4
  55. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0305036/?ref_=nm_flmg_slf_7
  56. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0818547/?ref_=nm_flmg_slf_8
  57. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1281943/?ref_=nm_flmg_slf_6
  58. ^ http://www.tabloidbaby.com/Book/Updates/kneecap.htm

External links[edit]