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
Daniele Alcinii is a news editor at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joined the RS team in 2015 with experience in journalism following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and with communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.