Martha Stewart Out of Jail, Into Reality TV

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," Feb. 8, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Back of the Book" Segment tonight, perhaps the most successful producer in television these days is Mark Burnett, the brains behind "Survivor" and "The Apprentice." Mr. Burnett will shortly be working with Martha Stewart (search) on a program when she gets out of the big house. And he's also written a book called "Jump In, Even If You Don't Know How to Swim."

Mark Burnett joins us now.

All right. What are you going to do with Martha when she gets out of jail? You're going to get her on the air when?

MARK BURNETT, REALITY TV SHOW PRODUCER: Well, on the air hopefully in September. When she comes out, she'll need a few weeks to get back to a normal life.

O'REILLY: Right.

BURNETT: And we have two shows. One show is a daily syndicated show. I'm taking her old "Martha Stewart Living," adding a live studio audience and interaction and show you how Martha really is. She's quite fun and engaging.

O'REILLY: OK. So the fun Martha Stewart at 9:00 in the morning making salads and, you know, showing you how to do stuff, right?

BURNETT: Except doing it with real people, both celebrities sometimes, but people in the audience who really want to learn.

O'REILLY: Who will come up and toss the salad with her.

BURNETT: Exactly.

O'REILLY: OK. I got it.

BURNETT: Great morning TV.

O'REILLY: All right. And then the primetime show is?

BURNETT: A second version of "The Apprentice" called "The Apprentice, Martha Stewart."

O'REILLY: And what's Martha going to do, yell at people, or what's she's going to do?

BURNETT: Martha will do what Martha does. The whole purpose, as you know, is 13-week job interview and Martha's looking for an apprentice, someone who'll work with her and be mentor.

O'REILLY: So Martha's looking for people who have the skills that she needs to run her empire.

BURNETT: Correct.

O'REILLY: In all different ways or just creatively?

BURNETT: See, that's what makes you so smart. Most people ask me is she going to bake a cake. Of course not.

O'REILLY: No, I'm way...

BURNETT: To run the company.

O'REILLY: Right. I'm with you here, Burnett. OK. I can be your partner here developing these shows. I know exactly what you're going to do.

BURNETT: You're the king of reality TV.

O'REILLY: It will be interesting. It is. This is the ultimate reality. Instead of having 12 guys on some dopey island trying to kill you, I've got 300,000 guys trying to kill me from all over the world.

All right. Now Martha Stewart's not too much of a gamble. I think people will be curious about her, and they will watch in the beginning. But I don't know if they are going to like Martha Stewart. However, you don't have to be likable to be successful, do you?

BURNETT: No, you don't. I think they will like her. Having compared her old show with no audience, which is a little flat, and seeing her as a guest on other people's shows with audiences, she's very engaging and interactive.

O'REILLY: More...

BURNETT: I can make that work.

O'REILLY: How do you — in prison, do you like go visit her? Do you have — do you like smuggle her cigarettes across the...

BURNETT: And a file.

O'REILLY: So you visit her in prison and say this is what we're going to do and all that.

BURNETT: No, I visit her every month. I gave my word, Bill, that I would. But we don't talk business. You're not allowed to. I'm shoulder- to-shoulder with other...

O'REILLY: All right. So you're just making her feel better, showing up?

BURNETT: A relationship.

O'REILLY: OK. Has she changed since she's been in prison?

BURNETT: No, not at all. I think her eyes have been opened to the plight of some other people. There are women in there — I was sitting there last month watching 2-year-old, 3-year-old, 4-year-old kids saying goodbye to their mother, their lips quivering, their mother — it's...


BURNETT: It's always people in the...

O'REILLY: So She's more aware then that there are people other than the Hamptons in this world. That's good. That's a good thing. All right. Why should I spend 20 bucks to buy "Jump In"? Why should I spend 20 bucks to buy your book? What am I going to learn?

BURNETT: You'll learn how to further your career in reality TV. It...

O'REILLY: I will.

BURNETT: It gives the — all my behind-the-scenes secrets of "Survivor," "The Apprentice," "Contender," and a whole chapter on Martha Stewart.

O'REILLY: So it basically tells the reader why you've been successful. How can they use that in their lives because everybody's not going to be a television person.

BURNETT: No, what they can do is see that I have no real education. I came to America with 600 bucks and made risk-after-risk decision and went to where I've went. And how I had vision and saw things. I mean, I saw in Martha's worst time the upside. I look for undervalued assets.

O'REILLY: OK. So this book is basically going to show the reader how they can be successful in their work by being creative, by looking at things a little differently?

BURNETT: And by...

O'REILLY: So it's a self-help book?

BURNETT: It really is. It was written really to help my kids who are now advantaged kids. I was disadvantaged. I want my kids to take risks as I have taken risks. I think a lot of people want to see how I did it. I'm an ordinary guy who made good in television.

O'REILLY: OK. And risks based upon education.

Last question. You have been phenomenally successful. You have a right to write this book and people to read it. Is — I hope this reality thing is going to tamp down a little bit. It's out of control now. You've got, you know, wife swapping, who's my daddy, who's my cocker spaniel. I mean, it's out of control. Come on.

BURNETT: But not with my shows, Bill.


BURNETT: You know that. I mean...

O'REILLY: You just have mean people on islands.

BURNETT: But actually...

O'REILLY: And Trump. And Trump!

BURNETT: Your buddy. Your buddy.

O'REILLY: How do you explain Trump?

BURNETT: Your buddy. You know something. You look at ... "Survive," "The Apprentice," now "The Contender," my boxing show, all high quality.

O'REILLY: That's Sylvester Stallone, right?

BURNETT: Great show.

O'REILLY: OK. Well, we like him.

All right. Mark Burnett — here he is — changed the face of American television, and you did. And we appreciate you coming in.

BURNETT: Thank you so much.

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