Renewals, pilots greenlit by several cablers

MY-Tupelo Entertainment has wrapped up the first year of its joint venture with two series renewals and several pilot greenlights, including for its first scripted skein.

Formed from the merger of Michael Yudin’s MY Entertainment and Cary Glotzer’s Tupelo-Honey Prods. in early 2009, the shingle has drawn renewals of “Ghost Adventures” (26 episodes for the Travel Channel) and “Pros vs. Joes” (eight episodes for Spike).

MY-Tupelo’s scripted debut will be “Ghost Stories,” which Travel picked up for 16 episodes and premieres in April. Jay Thomas will host the program, inspired by real-life stories.

Founded 12 years ago, Tupelo-Honey worked primarily in broadband, digital, live events and sports programming.

Hooking up with MY Entertainment boosted Tupelo-Honey’s potential to break into entertainment series.

“It brought credibility to Tupelo by getting in this development game,” Glotzer said. “Michael has access to creatives all over. … It really started to put us on the entertainment map.”

Yudin’s company benefited from Tupelo-Honey’s full-service capabilities.

“What Cary brought to the table was the ability to do it all,” said Yudin, former senior production VP at Viacom/Paramount. “I didn’t have to give the post away; I didn’t have to give the digital away. I didn’t have to give all that stuff away and just take my EP fees.”

Looking ahead, MY-Tupelo has signed its first European first-look deal with London-based Massive TV (topped by Bob Massie) and Massive TV’s joint venture partner Sassy Films to exchange finished shows and formats. The goal is to grow each other’s businesses on each side of the Atlantic. Massie and Glotzer had worked together on “David Beckham’s Soccer USA.”

MY-Tupelo is also moving forward with projects, including a two-episode pilot, “Being Bob Sapp,” for Travel. Series features the former U.S. college football player who became a multisport and TV icon in Japan, where the show is being produced.

In addition, MY-Tupelo has two other pilots and a special, all for different networks: TLC, TruTV and DIY.

“I think the diversity (of networks) is great,” Yudin said. “I think one thing leads to another. I’m always worried about having all our eggs in one basket … it says to us that people want to be in business with us.”

Without abandoning its cable base, MY-Tupelo is hoping to expand into broadcast.

“I think that word has gotten out, and people are approaching us now,” Yudin said. “So we feel good about that. As long as we feel we can deliver, that’s the most important thing.”

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