Unscripted executive producer Matt Gould passes away at 48

Veteran producer and unscripted community mainstay Matt Gould passed away last night (Aug. 13) at Morristown Medical Center from a heart condition. He was 48. “I am devastated to share the news that ...
August 14, 2019

Veteran producer and unscripted community mainstay Matt Gould passed away last night (Aug. 13) at Morristown Medical Center from a heart condition. He was 48.

“I am devastated to share the news that Matthew passed away last night due to a heart condition,” Gould’s wife, Stephanie, shared on his Facebook page this morning. “A memorial service will be held at Congregation Ohr Shalom at 67 Kent Place Blvd, Summit, NJ, Friday morning at 11 a.m. The girls and I appreciate your support at this terrible time.”

“Matt was one of the most sincere, kind and thoughtful people I have had the pleasure of working with,” said Claire Macdonald, VP and publisher of Realscreen. “On behalf of us all at Realscreen, we extend our sincere condolences to his wife, Stephanie, and his daughters.”

Gould was CEO of factual prodco Continuum Entertainment, a position he held since 2017. He previously served as EVP of British prodco Zig Zag Productions, responsible for the U.S. division, and held senior roles at TruTV, Travel Channel, Discovery Channel and TLC, among others.

In 2015, Gould joined the producers’ trade group PactUS as executive vice president before the organization was folded into NPACT in 2017 to create the largest organization dedicated to serving the producers of non-fiction entertainment.

During his time at PactUS, Gould worked alongside the late David Lyle to build awareness of the company’s services among American producers and acted as a voice on the East Coast. Before that, Gould’s tenure as EVP of Zig Zag Productions saw him executive producing a number of successful series, including Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food, Discovery Channel’s American Chopper and TruTV’s Storage Hunters.

“Pact is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Matt Gould,” John McVay OBE, chief executive at Pact in the UK, tells Realscreen. “He was a leading light in the UK and U.S. industries and in setting up PactUS with the late David Lyle. Matt’s infectious laugh and enthusiasm will be sorely missed by his friends both here and around the world.”

Gould was a frequent guest lecturer at universities and professional training seminars, including Colgate University, Syracuse University, the School of Visual Arts, CCTV Beijing, the Entertainment Master Class and TRC Media Glasgow.

Gould was also an elected council member representing the City of Summit, NJ.

The Gould family has set up a fundraiser on Facebook to further support the education of Matt’s three daughters, Maddie, Talia and Iris.

Friends and colleagues remember Matt Gould

Many in the unscripted community have fond memories of working alongside Gould over the years. “First as his agent and later as his friend, Matt was an intelligent, generous and compassionate person in an industry where those traits are hard to come by,” Jason M. Fox, president of Magilla Entertainment, tells Realscreen.

Eric Evangelista, partner and EP at Hot Snakes Media spoke about his professional relationship and friendship with Gould: “Matt was, most importantly, a kind man and a good person. As an executive he was sharp, smart and funny. As a colleague at NPACT, his enthusiasm, advice and wisdom were invaluable. My prayers go out to his wife and daughters.”

Neil Cohen, agent at United Talent Agency, also shared: “I’ve been privileged to know Matt for over 20 years. Matt and I first worked together at Video News International, a precursor to New York Times Television, based in Philadelphia. At the beginning, soon after he’d finished his studies at Temple, Matt worked a brief stint as my assistant editor, but he quickly rose through the ranks and proved his mettle as a shooter and producer on early reality TV series like Trauma: Life in the ER, Paramedics, and Police Force.

“I’ll miss Matt’s energy, his boundless creativity, and his joyful smile.”

Added Antidote Productions co-founder Leila Monks: “I had the pleasure of working with Matt when he ran Zig Zag Production’s USA office and I was working for Zig Zag in London. We attended many a market together ranging from MIP to Realscreen Summit to NATPE. As well as clearly knowing pretty much all there was to know about the factual TV market in the USA, Matt would always be there at the end of the day with a smile, an encouraging comment and the ability to make me laugh no matter how many meetings we’d had nor miles we’d covered. I will never forget his infectious laugh. Rest in Peace my friend.”

“Matt was the best-connected producer in New York! His amazing warmth and genuine interest in the fortunes of others meant he was deeply loved. He was the face I searched for in the chaos of conferences – the good guy in any crowd. And his recent move into serving his community was something that proved what a fine example of a human Matt was to us all,” stated Sam Barcroft, CEO Barcroft Studios.

Zig Zag Productions CEO Danny Fenton, meanwhile, shared: “I had the pleasure to know Matt Gould. I worked with him both as a buyer and later as the head of Zig Zag USA. He was most importantly my friend. Matt had an infectious laugh and a personality to match. He lit up the room with his boundless enthusiasm. He was one of life’s ‘can do’ people. He could edit, shoot, pitch, direct – the lot! He wasn’t just a one-man band – he was a one-man symphony orchestra.

“His impact on the industry knows no bounds. He produced thousands of hours for NY Times TV and went on to Discovery where he created many hits for TLC. From there he went to Court TV which became TruTV and it’s there we first met. He loved our shows so much he joined the company. We had five great years together until he joined PactUS where he worked with my other great mentor David Lyle.

“I was due to see Matt in NYC last week but he had come down with pneumonia. Typically, he messaged me to say ‘…don’t worry I’ll see you next week. I just need the weekend to recover.’ Shockingly, Matt has now passed and a light has gone off in my life. My thoughts are with Stephanie and the girls at this tragic time.”

With files from Daniele Alcinii




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