Lighthearted promotes five following death of founder

One month after the death of its founder Howard Schultz, Lighthearted Entertainment has upped Jeff Spangler (pictured, left) to the role of executive VP and has promoted Annie Meek (right) to VP of production.
January 23, 2015

One month after the death of its founder Howard Schultz, Lighthearted Entertainment has upped Jeff Spangler (pictured, left) to the role of executive VP and promoted Annie Meek (right) to VP of production.

Prior to his passing, Schultz made former VP of development Spangler and executive VP Rob LaPlante co-owners and partners in the company, as revealed by realscreen in December. Spangler will now join LaPlante as executive VP and the pair will oversee the day-to-day business of the company’s productions, which include such series as MTV’s Are You the One and VH1′s Dating Naked.

“Jeff Spangler’s expertise lies in all aspects of television, ranging from development to casting, producing and post-production,” said LaPlante in a statement. “I am proud to call him my partner and excited to continue carrying on the Lighthearted tradition with him by my side.”

In other news, the company has upped Meek – formerly Lighthearted’s executive in charge of production – to VP of production. The exec has been with the company for three years, managing budgets and staffing for its roster of programs.

Elsewhere, former post-production supervisor Michael Newstat has been promoted to the role of VP of post-production. Prior to joining Lighthearted, he oversaw two seasons of History Channel’s Top Gear USA for BBC Worldwide.

Finally, managers of development Megan McGrath and Patty Suh – both of whom started at the company early last year – have been upped to directors of development.

“The significant contributions of some of our most important employees play an integral role in our success,” continued LaPlante. “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 ground breaking creativity.”

  • A celebration of Schultz’s life is to take place tomorrow (January 24) at the JW Marriot (LA Live) from 3 to 7 p.m. PST.
About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.