Burnett expanding in Asia


SINGAPORE -- Mark Burnett will be significantly ramping up his business in Asia, with "The Apprentice Asia" likely among the new series, Burnett said here Wednesday.

In Singapore for the premiere of the first series of "The Contender Asia" on Sony Pictures Entertainment's AXN channel, the president and founder of Mark Burnett Prods. said Asia offered "endless choices" for content development.

"It's a matter of choosing the right projects," he said.

The 15-episode "The Contender Asia" was produced by local media company, Imagine OmniMedia, in association with Mark Burnett Prods.

Jerry Schafer produced the series, which has so far been sold to monopoly free-TV broadcaster, MediaCorp, for its English-language Channel 5, and to Fox8 in Australia.

Burnett said "The Apprentice China" was in the pipeline and denied delays or problems with the production. While no date has been set for its launch, he said that 2009 is a possibility.

"It's easy to work in Asia, you just have to follow the rules," he said.

"The Apprentice" was licensed to a Chinese partner in September 2006, but has yet to make it to air.

Burnett declined to discuss details of his $20 million venture, Mark Burnett Prods. Asia with Asian gaming and entertainment outfit, Genting International.

The Singapore-government-driven deal to develop reality content and game shows for Asia was announced in October last year.

MBPA will develop original TV shows for Asia that will be licensed for format around the world. The company also will hold the exclusive license to produce and distribute content to multiple media platforms, including mobile.