Leftfield Entertainment ups four

The New York-based company has unveiled a raft of exec promotions, including the appointment of Gretchen Palek (pictured, left) as SVP of talent and casting and Simon Thomas (right) as VP of programming at Leftfield Pictures.
December 17, 2015

ITV America-owned Leftfield Entertainment has unveiled a series of executive promotions.

The current head of talent relations, Gretchen Palek (pictured, left), is to become senior VP of talent and casting at Leftfield Entertainment, reporting to company CEO David George.

Meanwhile, Pawn Stars executive producer Simon Thomas (right) has been upped to VP of programming at Leftfield Pictures, while Real Housewives of New Jersey executive producer Caroline Self has been promoted to VP of programming at Sirens Media.

The new position will see Palek bringing talent and casting initiatives from across all Leftfield Entertainment companies under her care. In addition, she will manage the day to day operations of talent relations across current series including Alone and Tiny House Nation. Prior to boarding the company in 2014, Palek served as senior director of talent management and strategy at Discovery Channel, responsible for growing the company’s talent development and casting, talent strategy and talent business affairs departments.

Thomas, meanwhile, will see his overall remit broaden while continuing to provide oversight on a number of long-running series, including Counting Cars and Forged in Fire. Thomas, who joined the company from Endemol Australia in 2014, will also report to George.

Self joined Sirens Media as an executive producer in 2009 and has been responsible for overseeing such Bravo hits as Thicker Than Water and Manzo’d with Children. She will continue to report to Lucilla D’Agostino, Sirens executive VP of programming and development. Previously, Self served as a producer and editor on series including Hell’s KitchenBig Brother and Project Runway, as well as other programs for networks such as CBS, Fox, ABC, Bravo, MTV and Lifetime.

The promotions come weeks after ITV formally named Leftfield Entertainment exec Brent Montgomery as CEO of its American operations.

“Leftfield has always been focused on recognizing and rewarding outstanding talent, creativity and dedication,” said George. “Palek, Thomas and Self all have been integral to Leftfield’s success; we look forward to the leadership and ingenuity they’ll bring as our production family continues to grow.”

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.