Stephen Land, founder and CEO of Knoxville-based Jupiter Entertainment, will receive the 2018 Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award from UT Knoxville’s College of Communication & Information at the college’s awards and scholarship donor appreciation banquet on Friday, November 9, 2018 at the Knoxville Holiday Inn Downtown.
Land is among America’s most prolific television creators and producers. During his career, which spans over two decades, he has developed and executive produced series and specials for virtually every major media company.
With offices in New York, Los Angeles and Knoxville, Jupiter is actively engaged in developing and producing a broad mix of award winning programs for a host of cable television groups. Among its highly rated series are “Sons of Guns” (Discovery), “Snapped” (Oxygen), “Wild West Alaska” (Animal Planet), “Homicide Hunter” (ID), “Biography” (A&E), “Welcome to Myrtle Manor (TLC), and “Modern Marvels” (History).
Land is also involved with the Knoxville Museum of Art (past member of the Board of Trustees/Executive Committee), the University of Tennessee College of Communication and Information (emeritus member of the CCI Board of Visitors), the Tennessee Music, Film and Entertainment Commission (past commissioner), Church of the Ascension, and Knox Heritage.
Upon graduating from UT with a communications degree in 1976, he went to work for the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce where he held a number of positions, eventually serving as General Manager. “I was so fortunate to work for the Chamber during the World’s Fair. The atmosphere in the community was just electric,” said Land.
While working at the Chamber, Land met Ross Bagwell who had been hired to produce several videos for the Chamber and formed a lifelong connection. Bagwell hired Land for Cinetel Productions, placing him in charge of creating shows and pitching them to networks. Over time, Land began to write, produce and oversee shows for Cinetel and later for Scripps Networks. In 1996, he started Jupiter Entertainment to pursue his passion for storytelling through film.
“Stephen Land is one of the most talented and prolific individuals in his field,” said CCI Dean Mike Wirth. “He’s had a remarkable career and generously supports our students, through such initiatives as the CCI Land Ambassadors Program. The Hileman Award is fitting recognition for everything he has accomplished and all he has done for CCI, UT and the Knoxville community.”
Stephen and his wife, Nancy, are also strong supporters of the Knoxville Museum of Art and other civic groups including: the YWCA, Knox Heritage, Ijams, and St Jude Hospital.
Knoxville Central High School, from which Land graduated in 1971, named him as an honored graduate in 2013.
The Donald G. Hileman Distinguished Alumni Award is named for the first permanent dean of the College of Communications, forerunner to the College of Communication and Information. The award was established in 1994 in celebration of the college's 25th anniversary. It is awarded to college alumni who have made notable contributions to the fields of communication and information.
Past recipients of the Hileman Award include Mark McNeely, founder and senior partner of McNeely Pigott and Fox; Sharon Price John, CEO and president of Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc.; Charles Tombras Jr., CEO of the Tombras Group; Alexia Poe, principal at Poe Consulting and former director of communications for Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam; Alan Wilson, McCormick & Company Inc. chairman (retired); Alan N. Greenberg, president and co-founder of Avenues the World School and former Esquire magazine publisher; John Noble Wilford, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times science journalist (retired); and Peyton Manning, former NFL and UT quarterback.