THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
Gretchen Palek and Shawn Witt are promoted to co-presidents, while Joe Weinstock moves into a senior vp development role at the “Pawn Stars” company.
Leftfield Pictures is promoting from within.
Veteran executives Gretchen Palek and Shawn Witt are being elevated to co-presidents of the ITV America company, while Joe Weinstock is being upped to senior vp development. As part of the shuffle, Will Nothacker, who currently serves as senior vp development for Leftfield, will take on an expanded role within parent ITV America.
“In Gretchen, Shawn and Joe, we are bringing together a stellar team of executives, each with specific skill sets to lead Leftfield into a constantly evolving marketplace,” said ITV America president David George, to whom Palek and Witt will report, adding: “Their knowledge of each aspect of the market and their previous work at various networks, along with their understanding of the network business model and how it is changing, will enable us to evolve and adapt alongside our business partners.”
Collectively, the newly upped trio has logged 12 years at the unscripted powerhouse founded by ITV America CEO Brent Montgomery, who has been vocal about challenges — many of them, he believes, driven by a growing risk aversion on the network side — facing the unscripted business. Upon getting the top job at ITV in late 2015, Montgomery told THR: “We’re in a very chaotic time in the industry, and chaos creates opportunity.” (Montgomery famously sold New York-based Leftfield to ITV for $360 million in mid-2014.)
Witt joined the company behind Pawn Stars and Counting Cars in 2011. In that time, it has overseen such series as History’s Alone and Forged in Fire as well as FYI’s Tiny House Nation and NatGeo’s Brain Surgery Live. Palek came two years later, and has subsequently headed one of the unscripted industry’s largest casting and talent departments, which services the majority of the ITV America companies. She has spearheaded casting efforts on such shows as Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot, Fox’s American Grit and OWN’s The Book of John Gray.
For his part, Weinstock, who was hired in 2015, previously served as head of West Coast development for Leftfield, where he was responsible for the development of shows including NFL Network’s Tackle My Ride, Discovery’s Carspotting and Nat Geo’s Billy the Kid: Lost Evidence. In his new role, he’ll oversee all development on both coasts.