Jon Murray Chairman
Widely credited with inventing the modern reality television genre, Jonathan Murray continues to inspire, influence and entertain television audiences worldwide. Since the launch of The Real World (MTV) in 1992, Murray has created and executive produced some of the industry’s most innovative, unscripted, entertainment television programs.
Murray began his career in local television, spending six years at WLUK-TV, WXIA-TV and WKYC-TV in news, documentaries, station management (WOKR-TV) and programming.
In 1991, Murray and Mary Ellis Bunim pitched their unprecedented idea for an unscripted drama series to MTV executives over breakfast. MTV bought the show before lunchtime, and the landmark success of Bunim/Murray Productions (BMP) was underway. The innovative series merged Bunim’s experience in scripted daytime dramas with Murray's documentary and news expertise and it broke all the rules of television production. The Real World quickly became part of the cultural DNA of young people the world over and continues to thrive, with its 29th season debuting on MTV January 2014.
Murray and Bunim grew their production operation from a two-person shop into an industry powerhouse. They created and executive produced an incredible array of entertainment including such seminal television shows as The Real World, Road Rules, Real World/Road Rules Challenge, The Simple Life, Starting Over, Making the Band and Love Cruise, as well as the feature film The Real Cancun. Despite the loss of Bunim to cancer in early in 2004, Murray continues to lead the company they founded together to new heights.
In 2010, BMP was purchased by Banijay Entertainment, providing the company with access to international formats and distribution of its series and formats to the international marketplace.
Serving as Chairman of BMP until April 2015, Murray was responsible for guiding the creative process that has distinguished the company’s shows since the early 1990s. In 2007, the company launched BMP Films which sold its first critically acclaimed documentary, Autism: The Musical, to HBO. In 2008, the company announced the formation of M Music, a music management division, with its first band, A Cursive Memory, signing with Vagrant Records.
Murray currently serves as Executive Consultant, remaining at BMP in a creative capacity to develop series and documentary passion projects, and oversee some of the company’s longest running series.
Bunim/Murray Productions continues to thrive, producing projects for primetime and cable television platforms including Mariah’s World, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Rob & Chyna, Total Divas, Total Bellas and So Cosmo (E!), The Real World and The Challenge (MTV), Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars (Lifetime), Valerie’s Home Cooking (Food Network), Born This Way (A&E), The Gary Owen Show (BET), Earth Live (National Geographic), Bill Nye Saves the World (Netflix), The Selection: Special Operations Experiment (History) and Chachi’s World (go90). Additionally, their film entity, BMP Films, has produced Valentine Road (HBO), which premiered at Sundance, Pedro (MTV), Shadow Billionaire, and Autism: The Musical (HBO) that received two Emmy Awards.
In 2005 Murray earned his first Emmy Award for Starting Over (Syndication) and in 2009, his second for Autism: The Musical (HBO). In 2012, Murray was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
Jonathan Murray graduated from the University Of Missouri School Of Journalism and currently lives in Los Angeles. Murray serves on the Board of Trustees of Semester at Sea and is on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy.