After five and a half years at Spike TV, Joe Weinstock decided he had more to learn about television, and that led him to make the move from the network to his latest role as VP of production at Gurney Productions.
Formerly senior director of original programming at Spike, he officially started his new job at Gurney Productions on June 1.
Having already had a working relationship with Gurney principals Scott and Deirdre Gurney on the Spike series Auction Hunters, Weinstock knew he would approach the prodco after he’d made his decision to leave the network.
“I was always fascinated by the selling side of things and how the production process works,” Weinstock tells realscreen. “I think there’s bigger highs and bigger lows on this side of things and it’s a world that I was completely fascinated by.”
“I felt that after five and a half years at Spike, this is a world that I wanted to immerse myself in. Ultimately Gurney was the production company I approached and it all worked itself out,” he says.
“It’s a calculated gamble, for sure. I was very happy at Spike – I loved my job but I think to further myself and my career, I needed to get a production gig. I needed to learn how to sell a show from the production standpoint, as opposed to overseeing a show from the network standpoint. It’s a totally different beast and you’re wearing a completely different hat,” he furthers.
As the Spike exec in charge of Auction Hunters, Weinstock will now oversee it for Gurney. Weinstock also reports that Gurney has 10 shows at networks right now, including one series at Syfy and pilots at A&E, Syfy, Travel Channel and Discovery Channel. Gurney will also be bringing some ‘Shark Week’ programming to Discovery.
His time spent at Spike TV will also play into how he’ll approach networks in his new role. “Part of my job at Spike was to know what the competition wanted,” he says. “Being able to bring that immediately to Gurney, I think, has been a strong suit – knowing what to bring to the networks.”
It’s been an interesting career path for someone who was previously a trial attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma before his move into TV, first with Comedy Central’s legal department and then to Spike. “I had, as cliché as this sounds, an epiphany before the biggest trial of my life,” he recalls. “I was outside my home in Tulsa. I parked my truck and realized this isn’t what I want to do for a living.”
As for Spike, Weinstock says, “It was very sad to leave and [EVP of original series and animation Sharon Levy] understood it. We are on good terms and, in fact, I’m going in there tomorrow to pitch.”