Meet the Executive Committee
Production Companies serve as executive board, board and task force members, lending their expertise for the good of member companies and the entire industry.
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Widely credited with helping to usher in the modern reality television genre with his late partner Mary-Ellis Bunim, Jonathan Murray continues to inspire, influence and entertain television audiences worldwide. Since the launch of The Real World on MTV in 1992, Murray has created and executive produced some of the industry’s most innovative, unscripted, entertainment television programs.
Besides The Real World, which is in its 31st season, Murray has executive produced: Project Runway, Project Runway All Stars, Born This Way, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, Total Divas, Bad Girls Club, Road Rules, The Challenge, The Simple Life, Starting Over (Emmy Award), and Making the Band, as well as the feature film The Real Cancun, the television movie, Pedro, and the documentaries, Autism: The Musical (Emmy Award), Shadow Billionaire, Valentine Road, and the upcoming They Call Us Monsters, slated for release in 2016.
Jonathan Murray graduated from the University of Missouri School Of Journalism and currently lives in Los Angeles. Murray serves on the Board of Trustees of Semester at Sea and is on the Board of Governors of the Television Academy.
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Steven Weinstock is an Emmy award winning producer, co-president and co-CEO of Original Media, along with the co-founder and President of True Entertainment. Under his guidance, True Entertainment has grown rapidly into a leading television and film production company dedicated to the craft of storytelling. True Entertainment currently produces programming for Bravo, Discovery, TLC, Lifetime, National Geographic Channel, Hearst, Style and VH1, among others. In 2006, Mr. Weinstock was awarded his most recent Emmy as an executive producer on the TLC series, A Baby Story.
In 1997 Mr. Weinstock co-founded and was President of New York Times Television, a unit of the New York Times Company. At NYT-TV, Mr. Weinstock created and oversaw award-winning programs for Showtime, ESPN, Discovery, TLC and other broadcasters. Among these were Trauma: Life in the ER for TLC and The Season for ESPN.
Prior to founding True Entertainment, Steven Weinstock, a nine time Emmy award-winning producer, has been producing news and information programming since 1975. As a producer at CBS News in 1979, he won his first Emmy Award for CBS Reports: Murder, Teenage Style with Ed Bradley.
As an executive producer and development executive at PBS for eight years, Mr. Weinstock produced national specials for Fred Friendly, Charlie Rose, and Charlayne Hunter Gault among others. Weinstock also created and executive produced the critically acclaimed Edge series, an innovative television magazine show that examined America through its popular culture and was hosted by ABC News correspondent, Robert Krulwich. Before that, Weinstock was the creator and executive producer of Channel 13’s Emmy award winning nightly public affairs show, The Eleventh Hour.
Weinstock’s other broadcast credits include several primetime national specials: CBS Reports: Bittersweet Memories: A Vietnam Reunion, with Bill Moyers and for PBS, The Agony of Decision with Fred Friendly, and Idols of the Game, a six-hour primetime documentary mini-series for Turner Broadcasting.
Bruce David Klein
Atlas Media Corp
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As the President & Executive Producer of Atlas Media Corp, Bruce David Klein has been a recognized pioneer, industry leader, and creative force behind hundreds of hours of high-profile, award-winning unscripted series, specials and theatrical documentaries. He has created, written, produced and/or executive-produced series and specials such as HOTEL IMPOSSIBLE (Travel), PLAYING WITH FIRE (E!), EPIC WIN (MTV), STALKED: SOMEONE’S WATCHING (ID), BRAINWASHED (Discovery Channel), DR. G: MEDICAL EXAMINER (Discovery Health/TLC), BEHIND THE BASH with Giada De Laurentiis (Food), BREAKING VEGAS (History), and IT CAN HAPPEN TOMORROW (Weather). He wrote & directed the TV movie WHO KILLED CHANDRA LEVY? (TLC) and the theatrical documentary, MEAT LOAF: IN SEARCH OF PARADISE. Klein has moderated and appeared on numerous panels for organizations such as NATPE, Realscreen, the Producers Guild, and NYU Film School and his work has been featured and reviewed in publications such as the New York Times, Variety, Crain’s NY Business, and Entertainment Weekly. Klein is a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and serves on the Executive Committees of the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE) and the Nonfiction Producers Association (NPA).
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Eric Schotz, President and CEO of LMNO Entertainment, is a nine-time Emmy-award winner whose innovative style and creativity has established him as one of the television industry’s foremost producers/directors of non-fiction and reality-based programming.
Born in Florence Italy, Schotz ultimately migrated to Southern California. It was there where he quickly lost his accent with the help of daily television viewing. On a long shot he was actually accepted to college and eventually graduated from The University of California with a B.A. in Social Sciences.
His extensive credit list includes Executive Producing the highly successful hidden camera series for CBS - I Get That A Lot, The Little Couple for TLC (season 8), The 7 Little Johnstons (season 2) as well as Unusual Suspects (season 7), Murder Book (season 2), Killer Confessions and Speaking for the Dead all for Investigation Discovery. Schotz also created Seriously Funny Kids hosted by Heidi Klum for Lifetime and served as executive producer/creator of Kid’s Say the Darnest Things for CBS, Behind Closed Doors for ABC and A&E, Guinness Book of World Records Primetime, Boot Camp and Celebrity Boot Camp for FOX. Other credits include the cult classic Man vs. Beast 1 and 2, 101 Things Removed From The Human Body and the nationally syndicated daily talk show Dr. Keith Ablow.
Schotz began his career as a journalist in 1979 for a daily news program on KQED, the PBS television station in San Francisco. Soon after, he moved to KABC-TV in Los Angeles where in 1980, he played a key role in creating the highly successful magazine series, Eye on L.A that ultimately led to the long-running late-night ABC Network series, Eye on Hollywood. Schotz believes that Hollywood biographies are full of embellishments... so it is important to note that he was not really born in Italy, but really likes the food & wine from the Tuscan region. He resides in the sundrenched suburbs of Los Angeles with his first wife, who claims they have three children.
More On Laura +
Laura Palumbo Johnson is Partner and Executive Producer at Magilla Entertainment. Before co-founding Magilla, Laura production managed for the nationally syndicated series, B. Smith with Style. She continued in production operations and free-lanced for several networks such as TLC, Fox Sports Network and NBC Universal.
Later, Laura joined the start-up City Lights Television, where she became Senior Vice President of Production Operations, supervising over 400 hours of programming and 2,000 webisodes. She also singularly initiated and managed CLTV’s International Development division, brokering hit formats and episodes worldwide, such as Food Network’s Chopped.
Laura possesses a diverse background, having worked on all forms of non-scripted television – docu-reality, celeb-reality, competition reality, scripted hybrid, makeover, hidden camera, game show and talk/variety shows.
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Brent Montgomery is CEO of ITV America, with oversight of ITV’s US portfolio, including ITV Entertainment, Leftfield Pictures, Sirens Media, Outpost Entertainment, Loud TV, Riot Creative, Thinkfactory Media, High Noon Entertainment, DiGa and Gurney Productions. As the largest independent producer of non-scripted content in the US, ITV America produces more than 800 hours of content and 100 programs, working in partnership with more than 40 networks. Montgomery began his career in unscripted television with stints on such series as The Bachelor, Wife Swap and Blind Date. His company, Leftfield Pictures, sold its first series (The Principal’s Office) in 2008 and grew rapidly, adding myriad series and hundreds of programming hours to its roster, including the industry-defining franchise Pawn Stars. In 2013, at a time when most production-company owners were selling their companies, Montgomery completed the first debt-financing, TV production-company acquisition in the US, purchasing Sirens Media. Soon after, he created and launched Loud TV and Outpost Entertainment, selling what had then become the Leftfield Entertainment group to ITV in 2014. Since then, the Leftfield companies have secured more than 30 new commissions such as Alone, Blood, Sweat and Heels, Cutting It: in the ATL, and specials Billy the Kid: The New Evidence and Brain Surgery Live. Other hits include The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Tiny House Nation, Forged in Fire, and the upcoming series Food Porn and American Grit with John Cena.
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David Garfinkle is co-founder of Renegade 83, one of the world’s fastest growing and most successful unscripted production companies. David oversees development and sales at Renegade having sold and produced shows with A&E, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, the CW, Fox and Syfy.
From an early age David learned the benefits of hard work and determination. He attended Florida State University and immediately immersed himself in television production, mastering every aspect of production from operating the camera to scripting and producing content. He worked in production in Florida for various companies including Walt Disney before moving to Hollywood. In 1994 he partnered with his fellow FSU alumni, Jay Renfroe, to create Renegade83. They launched the company with the successful dating series Blind Date. David immediately followed up the success by selling a variety of shows to all the major networks. From Jeffery Katzenberg and DreamWorks Television to Eva Longoria and NBC, David has a keen eye for what’s hot and what will sell and works tirelessly with his development team to create new and exciting content. With critically acclaimed shows like The Kennedy Detail, ABC’s The Miracle Workers and Naked & Afraid, David has proven time and time again that quality and entertainment can go hand and hand.
T Group Productions
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Since establishing T Group in 2010, Daly has created, sold and produced over three dozen series to a wide range of networks including hit shows such as Storage Hunters and Container Wars (truTV), Invention USA (History), Mystery Diners (Food Network) and the current formats Ink, Paper, Scissors (BET), Ozzy & Jack's World Detour (History), 24 to Life (LMN), Hollywood & Football (E!), and the scripted Joey Mac Project (POP).
Before launching T Group, Daly served as Vice President of Development at E! Entertainment where she was responsible for developing The Simple Life, #1 Single, Love is in the Heir, Fight For Fame, Last Bride Standing and Starveillance. Prior to E! she executive produced and created such series as the Fashionista Diaries (Soapnet), Night Club Confessions (Fox Reality), Pageant Mom’s Unleashed (E!), Friend of Foe (GSN) and Party Crashers (MTV).
In the scripted and feature film area Daly has set up scripted deals with FX with 'Neopolitian' and 'Digital Diaries' with Touchstone and has served as Producer on 3 features including Shadow of Fear, Asylum Days and Shaded Places.
Meet the Board
Go Go Luckey Entertainment
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Julie Auerbach began her career in television as a scripted writer. Her writing includes the scripted dramas “Cover Me,” “ 24,” “Dark Angel,” “Birds of Prey,” and “Charmed.”
In 2002 Auerbach, together with her husband Gary, founded Go Go Luckey Entertainment. She redefined the reality genre with the 2004 breakout hit, “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” and is widely recognized as the co-creator of the docusoap. Auerbach is a proud member of the Writers Guild of America.
More On Rob +
Rob joined Lighthearted Entertainment in 2011 as Executive Vice President; under his leadership Lighthearted has enjoyed considerable growth with MTV’s “Are You the One?,” as well as VH1’s “Dating Naked,” “Twinning,” and “Bye Felicia!,” and TLC’s “Labor Games." Previously, he has casted such iconic show as “The Real World,” “Road Rules,” and "The Apprentice." After making the move into the producing world, he worked on NBC’s “For Love of Money,” “Dog Eat Dog,” and “The Apprentice” - the latter garnering him an Emmy Nomination for “Best Competition Reality Series.” He also spent 3 years as the VP of Development at Tijuana Entertainment, creating and supervising the development and production and production of two seasons of A&E’s “Obsessed” and three seasons of MTV’s “Is She Really Going Out With Him?,” both of which he served as Executive Producer.
High Noon Entertainment
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High Noon CEO Jim Berger is a Colorado based show creator, writer and producer, playing a key role in the creation or co-creation of series including Fixer Upper (HGTV), Cake Boss (TLC), Dude You’re Screwed (Discovery), Taco Trip (Cooking), Dr. Dee (Animal Planet), and Tough Love (VH1).
Creatively, Jim has broad oversight over the company’s development slate and its current production, including fifteen-plus television series and specials for more than ten networks, both in English and in Spanish. On the business side, he focuses on the company’s growth both domestically and internationally. In 2013, Jim coordinated a strategic partnership with ITV, the UK’s leading commercial broadcaster and international producer, whereby ITV acquired a controlling stake in High Noon. As part of the ITV Studios US Group, High Noon has expanded its global reach and access to international distribution.
Before co-founding High Noon, Jim was on the executive staff at Liberty Media and served as President of TCI-owned Intro Television (19 million cable homes) where he supervised Liberty's holdings in emerging networks. Prior, Jim ran local programming and production for Denver’s NBC affiliate KUSA-TV where he co-created Discovery's top-rated mini-series How the West was Lost. He began his career at KUSA-TV as a television news cameraman and was named the western region's “Television Photojournalist of the Year” for three consecutive years by the National Press Photographers Association. Jim earned his Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Missouri.
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Maria joined Optomen in 2005 and was appointed President of the US Company in 2013. In her role she oversees production of approximately 150 hours of programming per year with a staff of over 200 people.
Optomen Productions, an All3 Media company is an award winning international production company with offices in New York and London. We have a fantastic reputation for food programming and are renowned for global brands such as Kitchen Nightmares and Two Fat Ladies. In the US some of our long-running series include Worst Cooks in America (Food Network), Mysteries at the Museum (Travel Channel) and Scorned: Love Kills (Investigation Discovery).
Prior to joining Optomen, Maria was Executive in Charge of Production at BBC Production NY and made acclaimed series such as What Not To Wear for TLC.
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Brenda Hurley currently serves as Chief Operating Officer at Original Media and True entertainment, overseeing all daily operations including production, finance, accounting, and human resources. With a diverse background in budgeting, formatting, and managing shows, Brenda maintains all financial and operational aspects of the business.
Prior to her work at True Entertainment, she was Vice President of Production & Entertainment at National Video Center, a television production and post-production facility. In this capacity, she had P&L responsibility for three corporate divisions including studio production and development, and served as Executive in Charge of Production for all programming including two nationally syndicated series.
From 1998-1999, Brenda was Director of Operations at National New Media/Corporate Communications, managing the creation of web sites and interactive media for broadcast and corporate clients. And from 1996-1998 she served as Production Manager in National’s studio division, overseeing three studios and over 500 diverse shows and clients annually.
She has also worked as a producer, director, writer, and editor for a variety of commercials, documentaries, news releases, and satellite media tours.
Brenda received her MBA with a concentration in Management from Montclair State University and serves on the university’s MBA advisory board. She holds a BA with a major in Media Studies from Fordham University at Lincoln Center and is a member of New York Women in Film and Television and PRIME: Professionals in Media & Entertainment.
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Matt Sharp is the CEO, founder, and chief creative voice behind Sharp Entertainment. In the ten years since the company’s inception, he has led Sharp to become one of the biggest creative powerhouses in unscripted television production. As the company’s Executive Producer, Sharp has overseen the creation and production of thousands of hours of entertainment across a wide spectrum of networks and genres including reality, studio, documentary and clip-based television.
Before starting the company, Sharp worked in production and development at VH1, where among other series and specials, he created and ran the breakout hit series The Fabulous Life. Prior to that, Sharp cut his teeth at CBS News magazine shows, including Public Eye with Bryant Gumbel and Coast to Coast.
More On Michael +
Michael Yudin is a true maverick in the television industry. He began his career as a page at NBC and has been in the business for over twenty-five years, working both on the corporate side and independently as head of his own production company. A pioneer who combined marketers with television properties, Yudin helped innovate brand messaging as a revenue stream for advertisers and networks. With fifteen years of experience in the media and programming side of the advertising business, he spearheaded major accounts like Coca Cola and Miller Beer, among many others.Always keeping an eye to production, Yudin moved to the “other side,” working at Reeves Communications and opening the cable arena for Alan Landsburg Productions.In 1993, he joined Viacom Entertainment as a Senior Vice President of Programming, and continued in the same role through Viacom’s transition to Paramount Television, where he stayed until 1994.In 1995, Yudin became President and Partner of the Montreal-based TelesceneEntertainment which went Public in 1999. Telescene produced movies for the Action Adventure Network in DIRECTV and several series including Student Bodies on FOX, Live Through This on MTV, and Big Wolf on Campus for FOX Family.In 2000, Yudin opened MY Entertainment Company LLC, an independent production, packaging and consulting company. As part of this venture, Yudin consulted for Viacom in Advertiser Supported Programming and helped to retool TNN, which is currently Spike TV. In February 2005, Yudin/MY Entertainment was retained to create Carat Entertainment and Yudin was named Managing Director. Carat Entertainment, a division of Carat USA, was charged with creating branded entertainment opportunities for Carat’s Fortune 500 clients.Carat Entertainment’s first entry into this market was Schick’s participation in King of Vegas, which premiered in January 2006 on Spike TV. King of Vegas was followed by Jenny Craig’s participation in Oxygen’s show TEASE, created and produced by MY Entertainment.In 2008, Yudin became the President of the joint venture between Tupelo Honey Productions and MY Entertainment, known as MY Tupelo Entertainment.In 2014, Yudin bought out the company and is now the owner of MY Entertainment, formerly known as MY Tupelo Entertainment.
Gary R. Benz
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Gary R. Benz was one of the first American producers to envision the worldwide appeal of unscripted programs. In 1986, he established GRB Entertainment as a world-class television producer and international distributor, which today reaches more than 190 territories around the globe. Gary has created and produced more than 3,000 hours of programming, including live events, specials and numerous critically-acclaimed and award-winning hit series. A testament to GRB's stature in the financial community is the partners that have chosen to invest in the company. Allen & Co., the prestigious New York based investment bank is GRB’s second largest shareholder having been an investor for over 15 years. Gary is currently a member of the Directors Guild of America, the Writers Guild of America, the Academy of Television Arts and the Board Chairman for the Entertainment Industries Council, Inc.