Penn alum Jake Laufer (C'96, UTV, Ice Hockey, P.A.R.M.E.S.A.N)'s spooky "Ghost Lab" TV show debuts tonight on the Discovery Channel, but the real story here is Jake's path in becoming a co-Executive TV producer which includes:
- moving to 3 different cities
- and seizing opportunities
What was Jake's path to becoming a TV producer?
"After graduating from Penn I desperately tried to crack into the then- small Philly production market with spotty success. Ended up working on a few documentaries, a travel show, a cooking show, educational videos – and, I’m proud to say, several infomercials that never aired. Things picked up when I moved to DC which was just starting to get its legs as a TV town but is now really booming. Got some credits with Discovery, Nat Geo, ended up establishing myself in the crime-show genres, which was great training in terms of developing my sense of story structure. Started as a writer/producer for 2 series and a pilot, then got promoted to series producer on a 20 ep prime time series for truTV. As I was finishing "Suburban Secrets" a show runner I used to work with called with an offer to work on "Paranormal State" for A&E, but only if I could start right away. So I took a flyer and moved to New York before later finishing the season in post out of LA.
I worked as Supervising Producer and later, Co-EP of "Paranormal State", churning out 33 episodes in a year, and when "Ghost Lab" started up in summer ’09, I was tapped to run the west coast (story) side of the operation. Somehow we made it to air in October and by December had 13 hours in the can. Season 2 started production in the spring.
"Ghost Lab" debuts tonight (Tuesday), October 19th at 10PM e/p, on the Discovery channel and then begins airing in its regular timeslot Thursday nights at 10, starting on 10/21.
This season the "Ghost Lab" will be investigating sites such as the Old Montana Prison, the Villisca Axe Murder House, and a bowling alley in North Dakota said to be haunted by its former manager. First episode is set in historic Gettysburg.
More about the show HERE
More Penn alum TV producers HERE
Other Penn Halloween stories HERE