Jimmy Kimmel and Brent Montgomery’s media company Wheelhouse has taken a stake in former Food Network president Courtney White’s new food and lifestyle-focused production company Butternut Films, which will now be renamed Butternut under the joint venture.
As president of Butternut, which was launched when White exited Food Network this spring, White will collaborate with Wheelhouse leadership and across all Wheelhouse divisions — including Wheelhouse Entertainment, marketing arm Wheelhouse Labs, digital division Wheelhouse DNA, and investment department Wheelhouse 360 — “leveraging her deep production and creative expertise in culinary, home, design and lifestyle programming, and her wide-ranging relationships with talent and brands,” per Wheelhouse.
Butternut is focused on creating original content for all platforms, “working with a range of established, emerging and home-grown talent.”
White and her Butternut team will continue to work out of a clapboard barn on her family’s Southport, Conn., fresh-cut flower farm, Butternut Farm, as well as Wheelhouse’s New York and Los Angeles headquarters, and have full access to Wheelhouse’s large-scale campus in Stamford, Conn., dubbed “The Village.”
The Wheelhouse-Butternut joint venture was brokered by Wheelhouse chief strategy officer Ed Simpson.
“The single, common element across all successful lifestyle content is passion — talent must project it, creators must harness it, audiences must feel it,” White said. “Personal passion for the lifestyle genre has been the essential factor in my own career trajectory and will be a fundamental tenet for Butternut as we work to create signature content born out of our vast enthusiasm for, and as, makers. Partnering with Brent and the Wheelhouse team supercharges our mission; Brent’s signature energy and infectious excitement for bold innovation in media and beyond will empower Butternut to fully realize its ambitions to deliver the genre’s very best to audiences and partners.”
Wheelhouse CEO Montgomery added: “It’s thrilling to spot industry leaders at the top of their game and partner up to support them further as visionaries and entrepreneurs. There are very few in our business who know the lifestyle arena as well as Courtney, and who are trusted more by talent. We see Butternut not only as our lifestyle stronghold in content, but in other potential businesses, from culinary to consumer products. This is an inspiring collaboration and we’re looking forward to rolling up our sleeves to support Courtney and her creative and business goals.”
White exited her post as president of Food Network, a position she has held for the past four years, ahead of the finalization of the WarnerMedia-Discovery merger in April. White, who revealed plans to launch Butternut upon her departure, was replaced by HGTV’s Jane Latman, who is now overseeing both HGTV and Food Network.
During White’s tenure at Food Network, the channel launched such series as “Buddy vs. Duff,” “Tournament of Champions” and “Girl Meets Farm.” White also led the push to take Food Network into new territory with its first scripted feature, last year’s “Candy Coated Christmas” starring Food Network personality Ree Drummond.
White has broad experience in the lifestyle content space, having worked in programming for HGTV and Travel Channel before Food Network.