In Depth

Hot List: Mike Duffy and Tim Duffy

Names and Titles: Mike Duffy, senior VP, development, RDF USA; Tim Duffy, VP, original programming, Spike TV

Ages: 34

Twin brothers Mike and Tim Duffy are rising stars in unscripted programming production.

Mike is heading up development on some new reality programs geared for younger female audiences, including The CW’s “Hitched or Ditched” and Oxygen’s “Addicted to Beauty,” with RDF USA.

Tim, meanwhile, is developing Spike TV’s programming slate geared at younger males with shows such as “Deadliest Warrior” and “Jesse James Is a Dead Man.”

Their current areas of focus are complete opposites, but the duo plans to capitalize on their different experiences to form their own production company in the future—a long-term goal.

“Tim has really nailed it over at Spike,” Mike said. “His approach to TV for men, I think, is defining what guys are watching on cable TV. When you look at the number of shows that he has produced and developed, it’s hard to argue against that he really has tapped into what guys want to watch.”

“On my side of things, there’s just a lot more outlets on the cable side that are female skewing,” Mike noted. “I tend to develop broader shows that tend to skew a little bit more female.”

The duo, however, knows how important it is to have a broad experience in the industry, and in the future they hope to leverage that for the sake of telling great stories through their own shop.

“I would say [Tim] and I both have the same degree of empathy for our characters, but the way that we tell our stories for the audience that we are trying to capture is very different.” Mike said. “I take a much broader approach to developing television—it’s a big playground for me.”

Tim added, “It’s important to be able to develop toward any genre wherever you are.”

It was the boys’ shared childhood development that will eventually bring them together in the future in order to make the best use of their different experiences in the business.

“We’re Irish boys from Philadelphia,” Mike said. “Our ability to tell stories was honed and crafted around the dinner table. Growing up, if you couldn’t tell a good story with a good punch line, you were ridiculed. Both my brother and I, we wanted to be the funniest guys at the table—we wanted to be the guys that told the best stories.”

“My brother and I have an advantage in this business,” Tim reveals. “He is a seller and I am a buyer, and we’ve both pursued this buyer-seller path on purpose, so that somewhere down the line we can produce television shows with both the buyer and a seller in mind.”

—Sergio Ibarra

Filed under: Hot List, Mike Duffy, Tim Duffy