Lighthearted Entertainment CEO Howard Schultz dies

Howard Schultz (pictured), the founder and CEO of U.S. indie Lighthearted Entertainment, passed away unexpectedly on December 29, at the age of 61.
December 30, 2014

Howard Schultz (pictured), the founder and CEO of U.S. indie Lighthearted Entertainment, has passed away unexpectedly at the age of 61.

Schultz, who launched Lighthearted in 1992 and exec produced ABC’s Extreme Makeover, died yesterday (December 29) while vacationing with his family in Hawaii.

In a statement issued today, Lighthearted’s exec VP Rob LaPlante paid tribute to his colleague.

“Beyond Howard’s incredible television acumen existed a man who truly cared for everyone he encountered, in a way unique from anyone I have ever met,” he said. “TV has lost a visionary mind, and we have lost a mentor in life.”

Further details of Schultz’s passing have not yet been made public. Details of memorial services are pending.

Through Lighthearted, Schultz exec produced shows such as Are You the One? (MTV), Dating Naked (VH1), Bye Felicia! (VH1), Next! (MTV) and The Moment of Truth (Fox).

Schultz most recently expanded Lighthearted’s ownership group by making LaPlante and VP Jeff Spangler co-owners in the company, as revealed by realscreen earlier this month.

LaPlante and Spangler “will continue to carry the Lighthearted banner in Schultz’s wake,” according to a statement issued today on behalf of the company.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for HMV.com. As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.