StoryScout 2024

Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Steve Burns, veteran programming executive reflects on the changing documentary landscape. Podcast

STEVE BURNS has enjoyed senior management roles at Nat GeoDiscovery Networks and CuriosityStream.


  • First, Steve shares his shock and loss on hearing that Sunny Side’s Yves Jeanneau had passed away.
  • We discuss the rise of big budget international co-productions, “Occu-soaps”, character-led Reality, and much more.
  • He concludes our podcast with the thought that in today’s Netflix Era, the Unscripted eco-system is returning to Yves’ lifelong vision of the documentary as an agent of social change.

Podcast: Listen to Steve Burns (21 min)

More about Steve Burns

  • Steve Burns recently retired as Chief Content Officer for CuriosityStream, the 5-year-old factual SVOD, Pay and Linear service launched by Discovery founder John Hendricks, and now distributed worldwide.
  • Steve is founder / EP at Roller Coaster Road Productions, and continues as Special Advisor to CuriosityStream.
  • His career spans more than 25 years from National Geographic cinematographer/ producer to EVP of Production for Discovery Networks, including GM of Science Channel, returning to Nat Geo as EVP of Global Content for NGC Worldwide.
  • Before CuriosityStream, he was EP for WNET New York’s long-running PBS series Secrets of the Dead.
  • Steve’s multiple industry awards include two Emmys for 5 YEARS ON MARS and SPIRIT OF THE RAINFOREST.
  • His teams have been nominated for two Academy Awards, won two Peabody Awards and well over 200 Emmy nominations, including dozens of wins, most recently in 2017 for Stephen Hawking’s FAVORITE PLACES.

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