Thursday 14 December 2017

Television has helped to pave a road to riches for Roma Downey, a native of Derry's Bogside who is also an Emmy-nominated actress and starred in soppy US soap Touched by an Angel. Marriage helped too, given that her husband, Mark Burnett, a former British soldier, developed ratings winners The Apprentice (maybe he's partly to blame for Trump), Survivor, Shark Tank and The Voice.

Hearst and MGM bought his company in several chunks in 2012, 2014 and 2015, initially valuing the firm at 480m — though the value increased during that time — and the couple may have banked 120m from the 2015 transaction alone, with fees and dividends of almost 200m adding to that bank balance over the years. Various assets and investments increasing in value over the past year are likely to have further added to that.

Downey and Burnett live in a huge 7,300sqft beachside house in Malibu, where the neighbours include Hollywood actors. Strongly religious, they saw the potential of a TV adaptation of The Bible, which won numerous awards and reached 100m viewers.

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