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HomeGrown: Stephen Land, Jupiter Entertainment

3:54 PM, May 24, 2011   |    comments
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From hit series and crime shows to docu-soaps, Stephen Land and his company, Jupiter Entertainment, continue to re-invent the world of Cable TV.

"I still find television absolutely thrilling," said Stephen Land.

It's no surprise television is his life's work.

"I've always been fascinated with television," said Land.

Land has the western show, Bonanza, to thank.

"I wanted to be Little Joe more than anything.  I loved it," explained Land.

Throughout his adolescence, Land struggled to find his creative outlet.

"I was a bit of a wild child.  Anybody who knows me knows that," said Land.

Unfortunately,  at the time Central High School didn't have a journalism or broadcasting program.

"I don't think the media had been invented at that time," said Land.

Land finally pinpointed his passion at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

"It was really there that I think I developed an interest in telling stories," explained Land.

After college, he had a front row seat to one of Knoxville's biggest stories ever, working with the Chamber of Commerce.

"Knoxville was doing a World's Fair in 1982 and I thought that would be so much fun to work on a World's Fair," said Land.

Land stuck with entertainment working with Cenitel Productions and Scripps before venturing out on his own.

"I didn't want to build another giant company. I just wanted to do a few quality projects that I felt passionate about," said Land.

In 1996, Jupiter was born. One of the first projects was "Roller Jam," a new take on the American classic, "Roller Derby." Jupiter's first hit was the popular crime series, "City Confidential" for A&E.

"We ended up doing 200 episodes. It still pulls a great rating for the Biography Channel," explained Land.

Early on, his East Tennessee roots humored big city executives.

"I'm getting ready to launch into the pitch and a guy stops me and says, 'Can you say ya'll?' But it was a 2 million dollar deal, so of course, I said y'all," said Land.

Today, Knoxville based Jupiter is no laughing matter. And, from New York to L.A., Land is an acclaimed, television insider.

Among his many credits- Discovery Channel's "Sons of Guns," History Channel's "Modern Marvels," and Oxygen's first female crime series, "Snapped."

"I think that series will out live us all," said Land.

His latest project is the Lifetime reality series, "Vanished", hosted by Beth Holloway.

"In this business you're only as good as your last show," said Land.

Land certainly has staying power. He isn't wrapping production anytime soon.

"I've just been blessed and able to surround myself with really smart, hard working people," explained Land.

Stephen Land, born in Knoxville, Homegrown in Tennessee.

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