SVP, Production, Universal Sports Network
Karpen has climbed the ladder since beginning with Universal Sports as a freelance production assistant in 2010. He was promoted to producer in 2012, making him the youngest producer at the net and one of the youngest in sports TV. His talent caught the eye of NBC, which requested he be loaned out to them for the London and Sochi Olympics. He won a National Sports Emmy for his work with NBC at the age of 25. “Every time we do a show we have a chance to create a moment that is always replayed and always talked about,” he says. “The athletes make the action happen but if the TV people screw up the moment, no one will ever see it.”
What makes me most excited about this industry?
I love that we have a chance to make history every time we do a live sportscast. When you think about it, no one expected the ‘miracle on ice,’ no one expected Kerri Strug to score a perfect 10 in Atlanta. Every time we do a show we have a chance to create a moment that is always replayed and always talked about. I know we don’t save lives or anything like that, but we still have a chance to impact lives with the way we cover sports, we have an opportunity to make a moment that people won’t forget. The athletes make the action happen but if the TV people screw up the moment, no one will ever see it.
My ultimate dream job?
I want to continue working in Olympic sports television, I love the challenge of it, I love the constant rotating nature of it and I love how every 2 years all eyes are on our product so I just want to continue doing Olympic sports production and see where it takes me.
Who has been my biggest mentor?
At work there are people who have shaped me. Dean Walker, when I was new to producing gave me the green light to try ideas and try new things and that’s helped me get to where I am. David Michaels, my first executive producer taught me many, many valuable lessons including every decision I make, have a reason for it. I don’t always have to have the right answer but have a reason for doing something. Allan Brum, my first bunch of years in TV he helped shape me and teach me and groomed me to set me on the path I am now.
What three things I can’t live without?
My fiancé, my family, Olympics sports TV production