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Searching for the next hit TV show

November 23, 2012
By ZACH KUKKONEN ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Emmy Award-winning Mandt Bros. Productions, the company in charge of ESPN's "Jim Rome is Burning" and SyFy's "Destination Truth, is looking for talent in the Upper Peninsula to create a new TV show around.

Neil Mandt, who co-owns Mandt Bros. Productions with his brother Michael, are always looking for new shows to sell, and they feel the U.P. could be a viable resource.

"The U.P. is a very interesting area that's not well-known to most of the world or America," Neil Mandt said in a phone interview. "We feel the U.P. is an untapped resource for programming."

With a bevy of networks now available for new material, Mandt Bros. is not looking for a specific sort of person or topic. The company is merely searching for interesting material.

"We're open to anything," Neil said. "We're looking for dynamic people, that are exciting, outlandish and interesting. Starting with that, then we see what's next. It could be the CEO of an upcoming bakery, a mother of 13 kids, a super-fitness junkie. ... A lot of networks like a unique look at a unique life."

What Mandt Bros. is not looking for is another "gotcha" reality show.

"We're a family business," Neil said. "We don't want screaming and yelling at people. ... We want to show insight into what the world is like. We won't shoot things and work behind people's backs."

Neil originally received a nudge from local Erin Carter, who went to school with Mandt in a suburb of Detroit.

"When he and I got together at a reunion, we got to talking about what it's like in the U.P.," Carter said. "We feel it's an area that's not tapped into."

While appearing on television is not something most people consider to be an option available to them, Mandt dismisses that notion.

"It's within your grasp," Neil said. "If you're one of the people that people tell you, 'You should have a TV show,' get in touch with me."

Mandt can be contacted at



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