Howard Schultz, producer of unscripted hits such as VH1’s “Dating Naked, ” MTV’s “Are You The One, ” “Studs, ” “Extreme Makeover, ” and “Moment of Truth, ” passed away at the age of 61 while vacationing on Hawaii. According to Variety, no cause of death has yet been identified.
Schultz founded Lighthearted Entertainment in 1992, and his shows were known for their irreverent take on everyday life. Schultz was often heavily involved in every stage of production, and brought his vast experience to his hands on approach to producing programs. Rob LaPlant, exec VP of Lighthearted and VP Jeff Spangler will continue the company after the demise of Schultz. LaPlant told Variety, “Beyond Howard’s incredible television acumen existed a man who truly cared about everyone he encountered in a way unique from anyone I have ever met. TV lost a visionary mind, and we have lost a mentor in life.”
Mike Darnell, president of Warner Bros. Unscripted and Alternative television, worked with Schultz and said he was “fearless” and would “go full force without any regrets.” Schultz got his start on ABC and then went on to develop “Real People, ” which was a 1970s forerunner of reality shows. His 1991 show “Studs” raised eyebrows, as it was rather explicit, at that time, for a dating show.
Schultz is survived by his wife Tana, two sons and a stepson.