Howard Schultz, Reality TV Producer, Dead at 61

Producer Howard Schultz, the creator of Extreme Makeover and other reality shows, died Monday while on vacation in Hawaii. He was 61. A statement from publicist Zach Rosenfield did not reveal the cause of Schultz’s death, but said that it was unexpected.

Schultz was the CEO of production company Lighthearted Entertainment, which he founded in 1992. Among the shows on which he served as executive producer were Studs, The Moment of Truth, The Big Date, Sex Wars and more recently VH1’s Dating Naked and Bye Felicia and MTV’s Are You the One?.

Lighthearted Entertainment will continue to operate under executive VP Rob LaPlante and VP Jeff Spangler, who became ownership partners in the company earlier in December.

“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. TV has lost a visionary mind, and we have lost a mentor in life,” LaPlante said.