ITV America has temporarily suspended the founders of Gurney Productions amid an internal investigation into the Duck Dynasty prodco’s finances.
In an email to staff on Monday (Dec. 5), 5×5 Media co-CEO Craig Armstrong said Scott and Deirdre Gurney are on a “short, temporary leave of absence” and “no longer responsible for day-to-day operations of the company.”
A spokesperson for Gurney told realscreen that Armstrong has taken over as interim CEO and added that “the board of Gurney Productions is currently in discussion with Scott and Deirdre Gurney about future arrangements with them.
“Craig is an Emmy award-winning producer whose credits include King of the Nerds for TBS, CBS’s Survivor, and ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution. Craig, along with his producing partner Rick Ringbakk, is co-founder and co-CEO of 5×5 Media, which will continue to operate as before.”
Armstrong did not specify the reason for the investigation, and no charges have been filed.
ITV America COO Chris Valentini will also assist Armstrong on an interim basis.
“We can not share all the specific details. What I can tell you is that Gurney Productions is a very important part of the ITV family and we are committed to help keep things running smoothly until the situation with Scott and Deirdre is resolved,” Armstrong wrote in the email to staff. “There are several items we need to look into over the next couple of days so we may be asking some of you to sit down with me and legal counsel to answer some questions.”
UK-based ITV bought a majority stake in the U.S.-based company for US$40 million four years ago.
The show stars the Robertson family, the owners of a Louisiana-based duck-hunting business. Following its debut in March of 2012, the series grew into a ratings smash and became the most-watched unscripted show in cable history, leading the network to shift focus to lighter reality fare for a time.