Ali Acun Ilıcalı (born 29 May 1969) is a Turkish television icon, entrepreneur, international TV producer and businessman. He is the owner of TV channels TV8 and TV8.5, as well as production companies in countries such as the United States, Mexico, Romania, Hungary, Brazil, Colombia and Greece. He is the founder and chairman of Acun Medya production company that produces shows to broadcasting channels around the world.

Acun Ilıcalı’s career, which started as a sports reporter and became a Media owner, and his story has been the subject of many books, documentaries and TV shows.

He has received over a thousand awards in numerous categories. In 2018, Variety magazine included him in the world’s top 500 entertainment leaders and icons in media and entertainment business around the globe.

Early years

Acun Ilıcalı was born in Edirne on 29 May 1969. His family originally is from a small town called Ilıca in Erzurum, eastern Turkey. He graduated from grammar school in Edirne, and started his middle and high school education in Kadıköy Anadolu Lisesi, one of the leading schools in Turkey. Ilıcalı started his undergraduate education with a degree in English teaching at Istanbul University. During his university years, he started to dwell in entrepreneurship and chose to start a business instead of finishing his degree.

Ilıcalı had his first job in the media sector at the age of 22 and started to work at Show TV as a sports reporter. After having worked as a sports reporter for several years, at 2004 he founded his own production company Acun Medya, which achieved rapid success and became one of the biggest production companies in Turkey. In 2008, Ilıcalı appeared in the list of record breakers of tax payers of Turkey for the first time.


Ilıcalı started his career in Media in the year of 1990 as a reporter. In 2002 he started producing content for some of the most watched TV channels of Turkey.

Ilıcalı welcomed innumerable success for his own entertainment-travel show Acun Firarda, which was prepared and presented by him. During the span of the show he had to travel to more than 100 countries. Thanks to the great TV ratings the show had received, Acun Ilıcalı became one of the most popular names of the country.

After having founded his own production company in 2004, Acun Ilıcalı started producing globally popular formats such as, Deal or no Deal?, Fear Factor, Survivor, Got Talent, The Voice, Dancing with the Stars, Rising Star, Ninja Warrior and several more television programs. Ilıcalı successfully adapted these formats for the Turkish viewers and broadcast them on primetime in the most watched TV channels of Turkey.

Acun Medya bought TV8 in 2013. Broadcasting Acun Medya productions carried TV8 from the 1% share it had on the market to becoming one of the most watched TV channels of Turkey. TV8 later joined forces with Doğuş Production Group, of the leading media groups of Turkey. In 2016 TV8.5 an entertainment and sports channel, was added to the company.

Acun Ilıcalı has made his first move into the international media arena in the year 2016 with his projects in Greece. In Greece; Acun Medya has produced The Voice, Survivor, Got Talent, My Style Rocks and several more television programs. Broadcasting through Skai TV channel, some of these productions have reached high ratings.

After having earned success in Greece, Acun Medya developed a first-in-the-world television format that combines sports and reality. Exathlon, a brand new television show, has been broadcast in the USA, Mexico, Romania, Colombia, Brazil and in winter of 2019 will be in Hungary. Exathlon is among the most watched programs in each of these countries that it is broadcast.[non-primary source needed]

After achieving success with the Exathlon format, Ilıcalı joined forces with the Mexican media producer Ricardo Salinas, and has agreed to produce shows for Azteca Uno on both daytime and primetime for the next three years.

Personal life

Ilıcalı has been married three times, and has four children. He married Seda Başbuğ in 1988 when he was 19 years old. Ilıcalı, who has a daughter named Banu from his first marriage, lost his parents in a traffic accident ten months after the birth of his first daughter. In 1993, he got divorced from his first wife Seda. He was married to Zeynep Ilıcalı in 2003 and they have two daughters named Leyla and Yasemin. In 2010, Acun admitted to having an affair with Şeyma Subaşı. During the trial of his divorce with his second wife due to his infidelity, Acun’s wealth was revealed to be around ₺50 million which was equivalent to 25 million euros at the time. Later he reconciled with his second wife for a short period and the divorce process was stopped. In late 2013, he had his fourth child Melisa with his then-girlfriend and third wife Şeyma Subaşı, whom he divorced in 2018.

In 2018; he underwent a surgery to remove a benign mass of cells from the area beneath his eyes.

  • Official website
  • Acun Medya
  • Acun Ilıcalı on Twitter
  • Acun Ilıcalı on Instagram
  • Acun Ilıcalı on Facebook