Mark Burnett, who serves as Chairman of MGM Worldwide Television Group, is indisputably one of the most successful (and powerful) reality TV producers on the planet. His unprecedented success with a handful of long-running franchises like “The Voice,” “Survivor,” “Shark Tank” and “The Apprentice,” the latter three he also created, mean the Emmy-hoovering megaproducer and his actor wife, “The Baxters” star Roma Downey, have pockets plenty deep enough to own several multi-million dollar oceanfront homes in Malibu, two of which they now have up for rent at the reduced but by-no-means-inexpensive wintertime rate of $35,000 per month. According to listings held by Susan Monus at Coldwell Banker Realty, Burnett’s place, along one of the most desirable stretches of sand in Malibu, is also available to book for next summer at $70,000 per month while Downey’s house, inside the hallowed gates of The Colony, is also available next summer, but at a higher rate of $100,000 per month.
Burnett, a nine-time Emmy winner who has taken considerable heat over the last handful of years for not releasing outtake tapes from “The Apprentice” that allegedly show Donald Trump making sexist and racist remarks, plunked down $4.5 million for his ocean-front home in 2004, three years before he and Downey were married in a ceremony officiated by Downey’s former “Touched By An Angel” star, the late and great singer/actor Della Reese. The three-story house, described several years ago by yours truly as “a clunky farrago of angular contemporary architecture and organic finishes with three bedrooms and five bathrooms”, comes in at not quite 3,400-square-feet.
A slender stone turret stands sentry next to secured antique carved wood gates that open to a rustic, stone walled courtyard anchored by a massive stone fireplace. Inside, roomy, bi-level living and dining areas, furnished with a lot of Shabby Chic-y white slipcovered sofas, showcase reclaimed wood floors and a barn’s worth of hand-chiseled wood beams. There’s a fireplace set into a stacked stone wall, and wide banks of full-height glass doors fold open to a deck with a frameless glass railing that allows for a thrillingly unobstructed view over the water. The kitchen is large with high-end appliances and there’s a second living room on the lower level that spills out to a wrap-around deck that cantilevers over the sand with direct beach access.
Guest bedrooms are simple, beachy and airy with vaulted ceilings, while the main bedroom is an oceanfront retreat complete with a private sitting room, a wood-beamed cathedral ceiling and a stone fireplace. French doors lead to a small deck from which there are the exact sort of 180-degree ocean and coastline views that compel well-heeled short-term renters to shell out a whopping $35,000 a month in rent.
Downey’s place in The Colony, a Cape Cod cottage she scooped up in 1999, long before she and Burnett coupled up, cost her almost $3.7 million and spans just over 3,800 square feet. Relaxed and comfortable with tons of white slipcovered furniture, sea-glass inspired this-and-thats and a mountain of antique (or faux-distressed) tables and chairs, the cozy seaside hideaway features warm honey-toned wood floors and exposed wood beams across the ceilings. The main living and dining space has an eye-catching whitewashed arched fireplace as its focal point, and the simple, up-to-date galley kitchen includes a built-in breakfast banquette that comfortably seats eights. The five bedrooms and four bathrooms include a secluded one-bed/one-bath suite for guests or staff along with a sprawling ocean-facing owner’s suite with two sitting areas plus an office space, a fireplace and a private deck.
Between the house and the beach, a bi-level backyard includes a built-in grill and heated dining terrace next to a plunge-sized swimming pool, a coveted feature not all that common in oceanfront homes. A few steps up from the pool, a wide sunbathing deck has commanding, up-close views of the beach and the ceaselessly pounding surf.
The Downey-Burnetts, who described themselves in a 2019 New Yorker profile as “The noisiest Christians in Hollywood,” have long made their primary home in Malibu a relaxed yet grandly proportioned East Coast traditional set on a high buff above popular, picturesque and fearsomely pricey Paradise Cove. They picked up the place about 15 years ago for $25 million from late entertainment industry polymath and high-end house flipper Sandy Gallin.