Reality TV Veterans Launch Popsugar-Backed Production Shingle

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Jane Yusim, Tom Huffman

Tom Huffman and Jane Yusim's Toy Rocket will produce both scripted and unscripted projects for broadcast, cable and digital distribution.

Unscripted development veterans Tom Huffman and Jane Yusim are striking out on their own with a little help from digital publisher Popsugar. 

The duo have set up their own production company, Toy Rocket, with the plan to develop and produce longform scripted and unscripted programming across genres for broadcast, cable and OTT distribution. They have taken a seven-figure investment from Popsugar, the online brand people known for its editorial and videos aimed at young women, to boost their ability to test new concepts and develop insights into the habits and interests of their target audience. The two firms will also collaborate on branded content projects for Popsugar.

Toy Rocket will operate as a stand-alone unit housed within Popsugar Studios, the video division run by David Grant. "Popsugar is ahead of the media curve in so many ways that starting a new indie with them as a backer felt like a one-time opportunity that Jane and I could not pass up," said Huffman, adding that the digital brand "has a huge amount of audience data, a high-quality studio infrastructure and a fantastic brand — and we plan to put all to good use."

Huffman previously served as senior vp of Tribune Media and oversaw unscripted programming for WGN America and Tribune Broadcasting. He joined Tribune in 2013 after several years as vp development and production at VH1, where he oversaw such shows as Celebrity Rehab and Couples Therapy. Huffman is also a co-creator of VH1's Basketball Wives

Yusim, meanwhile, most recently served as vp development at ITV Entertainment, where her team was behind projects including E!'s Rich Kids of Beverly Hills and Nat Geo WILD's Cesar 911. She has also held roles at ZOO Productions and GRB Entertainment. 

Rounding out the team are Red Bull Media veteran Beau Delmore, who has joined Toy Rocket as director of development, and producer Lauren LeMieux, who will serve as manager of development.

Toy Rocket currently has several projects in development, including a collaboration with Popsugar on scripted anthology series Malfunction that will explore the relationship between millennial women and technology.