Discovery’s new series Undercover Billionaire features Glenn Stearns, a billionaire masquerading as a documentarian in need of work. He selected Erie, Pennsylvania to create a million-dollar empire in 90 days.
The twist is that he hit the hard strapped city completely blind. He had never been there before and had no preparation or contacts. Stearns only had a whopping $100 bucks to his name and an old pickup truck to get around.
The premise is simple: Can lightning strike in the same place twice? Can this self-made billionaire recreate a fortune in a compressed amount of time?
That’s a generalized overview for the new series Undercover Billionaire for Discovery. Is Stearns able to pull it all off again?
Who is Glenn Stearns?
Stearns was an underachieving student who by eighth grade was a father. Yet, this man was a millionaire by the time he was 28.
Glenn is an active philanthropist and a cancer survivor who counts his blessings and wants to leave the world a bit better than he found it.
But the beginning was tough. Life was hard for Glenn who had alcoholic parents and was diagnosed dyslexic, failing the 4th grade. In the 8th grade at age 14, he fathered a child with an older teenage girl.
Stearns said his grades anemic at best. Despite this, he managed to get into college and earn a degree in economics from Towson University.
Stearns family was not wealthy by any means, as his dad was a printer and his mother was a house cleaner. He grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.
“We had bars on our windows. Drugs were sold on street corners, and I wasn’t allowed to play outside after dark,” Stearns said in his bio at the Horatio Alger Association.
In his 20s, Glenn formed his own mortgage company, Stearns Lending LLC. By 2010, Stearns Lending LLC reached nearly $1 billion a month in funding while experiencing record growth. It has since faltered financially.
Today, Stearns is married to actress and former local LA-based news reporter Mindy Burbano with six children and two grandchildren.
For the Discovery show, he connected with the producers and pitched them the premise of the show. Discovery made the deal, and here we are, seeing if Mr. Stearns, can make a second fortune from scratch, the way he did the first time.
At the recent Television Critics’ Association press tour, I spoke to Glenn and his Erie, Pennsylvania partner in the show, R.J. Messenger of Iron Empire Clothing.
Tune in Tuesday to see how the brewery idea progresses as Glenn has a go-to team assembled in Erie.
Undercover Billionaire premieres Tuesday, August 6 at 10 PM ET/PT on Discovery.