One of the architects of the modern television syndication model and the reality TV genre has announced his retirement. Mark Itkin, a WME partner and a 34-year veteran of the entertainment business, said he will retire from the agency business at the end of this year.
Itkin is credited with helping to shap the modern reality television landscape, having packaged an impressive string of shows including “The Real World,” “Deal or No Deal,” “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” “Project Runway,” “People’s Court,” “The Ricki Lake Show” and “American Gladiators.”
Itkin pioneered bringing international reality formats to the U.S., and had a hand in creating franchises such as “Big Brother,” “Fear Factor,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “The Biggest Loser.”
“In 2006 Itkin set a new precedent when he paired Tyler Perry with independent syndicator Debmar-Mercury for Perry’s sitcom ‘House of Payne.’ Now commonly referred to as the 10/90 model, Itkin orchestrated a groundbreaking formula allowing greater creative control and financial upside for television creators. This model has been replicated numerous times throughout the industry,” WME noted in its announcement.
In a statement, WME | IMG Co-CEOs Ariel Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell said: “Mark is a true visionary. His passion for television, arts and pop culture has led to some of the most groundbreaking programming of all time. He is the definition of a trailblazer, and we are grateful for his many contributions to our company and the industry.”