EXCLUSIVE: Michele Ganeless, former President of Comedy Central, and Olivia Wingate, who previously served as a comedy talent rep, are doing their part to add a wrinkle to the ongoing push for diverse representation and inclusion in Hollywood. The comedy veterans have launched Mo Studios, a New York-based production company that will invest in the development, packaging, producing, and optioning of IPs with a focus on female and under-served voices.
The jointly run company, which is funded by a private equity investment, will partner with a diverse array of companies to explore all genres of storytelling intended for the international TV and Film markets as well as theater, publishing, new media, and audio in many forms.
“Authentic stories and strong points of view are what drives us, so we’re beyond thrilled to be able to invest in, nurture and support these voices wherever possible with amazing partners that share our same values of championing female, diverse and alternative voices. In our experience, it’s the more specific stories that make the largest impact,” said Ganeless and Wingate.
Popular female-centric digital entertainment media company Refinery29 has been tapped as an IP incubator for MO. Current projects in development include a premium digital audio anthology with Refinery 29, as well as a TV adaptation of Kat Yeh’s YA novel The Truth About Twinkie Pie, with Stephanie Laing attached to direct, and a comedic drama based on Melena Ryzik’s experiences as a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist.
Prior to her over a decade stint as President of Comedy Central, Ganeless has held multiple roles at USA Network, MTV, and Comedy Central as well. Since leaving the comedy network, Ganeless has transitioned into producing with her first film Egg, starring Christina Hendricks, Alysia Reiner and Anna Camp), which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.
London native Wingate started out producing contemporary American Drama and Comedy in the UK, working with artists such as Angus McLachlan, Patton Oswalt, David Cross and Louis CK before launching her management company Olivia Wingate Artists. Longtime clients included Marc Maron, Reggie Watts, and John Hodgman. Wingate left the world of management to head up scripted development at NYC’s Left/Right Studios, the production company behind truTV’s upcoming anthology comedy Bobcat Goldthwait’s Misfits & Monsters.