Founder and Executive Consultant
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 including the recent Emmy award winning Born This Way (A&E) and Citizen Rose (E!).
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. Murray partnered with Mary-Ellis Bunim to form Bunim-Murray Productions in 1987.
In 1991, Murray and 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.
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, as well as the feature film The Real Cancun. Mary-Ellis Bunim passed away from cancer in early in 2004.
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 including The Real World, Born This Way and Project Runway. In 2007, the company launched BMP Films which sold its first critically acclaimed documentary, Autism: The Musical, to HBO. Additionally, BMP Films, has produced Valentine Road (HBO), Pedro (MTV), Shadow Billionaire (CNBC), Valentine Road (HBO) and They Call Us Monsters (PBS).
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.
Murray has won Emmy Awards for Starting Over (Syndication) Autism: The Musical (HBO) and Born This Way (A&E). 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, a global education program, and Respectability, a disability rights organization.