Lighthearted Entertainment is bolstering its ranks with the promotion of five execs, the first moves following the untimely death of founder Howard Schultz last month. Co-owner Jeff Spangler will serve as EVP; Annie Meek as VP Production; Michael Newstat takes over as VP, Post Production; and Megan McGrath and Patty Suh will share Director of Development duties. All promotions are effective immediately.
Schultz had announced EVP Rob LaPlante and Spangler as co-owners and partners in the company shortly before he died unexpectedly December 30 while vacationing with his family in Hawaii. LaPlante and Spangler will continue to oversee the day-to-day business and productions of the company which include the MTV hit, Are You the One, as well as VH1’s Dating Naked, Bye Felicia and Twinning (in-production).
“Jeff Spangler’s expertise lies in all aspects of television, ranging from development to casting, producing and post production,” said LaPlante. “I am proud to call him my partner and excited to continue carrying on the Lighthearted tradition with him by my side.”
“The significant contributions of some of our most important employees play an integral role in our success,” LaPlante continued. “2014 was a banner year for Lighthearted Entertainment and promoting from within continues Howard’s vision of Lighthearted being an employee-oriented business that nurtures and rewards groundbreaking creativity.”
Meek moves up to VP Production from her previous role as Executive-In-Charge of Production. She has been behind such shows as 72 Hours (TNT), Lone Star Legend (APL), Are You The One (MTV), Dating Naked (VH1) and most recently Bye Felicia! (VH1). Newstat joined Lighthearted last year as Post Supervisor for Are You The One (MTV), Are You the One: The Aftermatch (MTV) and, most recently, Bye Felicia! Before supervising post production at Lighthearted, Michael oversaw two seasons of History Channel’s Top Gear USA for BBC Worldwide. McGrath and Suh were hired simultaneously as Managers of Development at the beginning of 2014. During their tenure they’ve been behind the development of VH1’s newest competition series Twinning and a currently unannounced series for TLC.
Lighthearted Entertainment was founded 23 years ago by Schultz. A celebration of his life will take place Saturday, January 24 at the JW Marriott (LA Live) from 3 to 7 PM.