Last Easter Sunday was not only, well, Easter Sunday, but it was also the final episode of Mark Burnett’s series, “The Bible” on the History Channel, culminating in a gritty and inspiring dramatization of the crucifixion of Christ. The five-part mini series managed to generate ratings of biblical proportions, and a spin-off is already in the works.
Burnett is best known for his stints as producer of Survivor, The Apprentice and The Voice – certainly not your typical Sunday School fare. However, these prime-time reality shows are exactly where Burnett cut his teeth, establishing his reputation in the television industry as a star producer who knows how to deliver what matters most to the network: results and ratings.
So, I thought it was interesting that Burnett, along with his wife Roma Downey (of the tear-jerker, “Touched by an Angel” fame), felt compelled to use their clout to bring forward such an oddity as (cough) - a bible show - to prime time television. I mean, in our super-fresh new millennial age of Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo, you would think Hollywood would be the last place to parade around a show like this.
Hats off to Burnett for leveraging his success into something more meaningful than reality TV. “It was the right time to use the currency of that success to want to make something very important,” he told Focus on the Family.
Wait a second. Did you notice the way he accurately used the word “currency” to describe his previous success? Now the question is, what to do with that currency? Burnett’s hope was to help people emotionally connect to the great story of the bible.
So here’s my question: Do you think the History Channel would have been so gung-ho about launching such a clearly old-time religious-based series had some other enthusiastic mega-church do-gooder schmuck with no experience pitched the same idea? No, of course not.
Clearly, Burnett’s credibility and reputation in the world of production and hit TV shows paved the way to allow him to do something personally important to his faith, with the potential to impact millions of people who may not have been so keen to pick up the bible lately.
“I’ve made 2,000 hours on American prime-time TV,” he says. “Character and story are the key to storytelling. Well, I don’t know where you’re ever going to find better character and better story than in the Bible. There’s only one perfect character; that’s Jesus. Everybody else is flawed, and through the story line we chose to take is [that] despite all those flaws, God didn’t give up.”
People, I told you this before, but I’m gonna say it again, because our dude Mark B here is all over it:
You can’t have influence until you’ve earned a reputation.
You won’t earn a reputation until you build credibility.
You won’t build credibility until you deliver the goods – on more than one occasion.
Find out what’s important to your boss, your company, your customers, and make sure you are delivering results. Consistently. Then you will have permission to push all those good ideas around.