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Butternut’s Courtney White

Courtney White, founder and chief executive of Butternut Films, tells TV Real about tapping into her vast experience to super-serve lifestyle audiences across all platforms.

Earlier this summer, Courtney White, formerly president of Food Network and general manager of HGTV, struck up a partnership with Wheelhouse to launch a new joint venture focused on food, home and lifestyle. Butternut Films is now working to tell stories of lives lived to the fullest, unlikely paths forged, creativity unleashed and talent unlocked.

***Image***TV REAL: What led to the launch of Butternut?
WHITE: My career as a lifestyle-network executive focused on the female consumer, yet, from my seat, I saw too few female-owned production companies making shows for the women flocking to our brands. I decided to create the company I wished existed. Butternut is female-led and devoted to creating premium home and food content, with an unwavering focus on super-serving lifestyle audiences across all platforms.

TV REAL: How did the partnership with Wheelhouse come about, and what has this investment brought to the company?
WHITE: I’m a specialist. I bring to the table laser-focused, long-running expertise in the lifestyle genre honed over 16 years at HGTV, Food Network and their sister brands. I recognized the value of my specific skill set and Butternut’s ultra-focused content strategy, and I knew my ideal partner would be a highly connected innovator with experience across all sectors of entertainment. I sought out the person with the most varied lens in media, who also recognized the enormous business potential in the lifestyle arena—that was Brent Montgomery and the team at Wheelhouse. He and I each bring our tireless energy and enthusiasm to our individual approaches with the shared goal of chasing success. This partnership supercharges Butternut’s mission to deliver the genre’s very best to audiences and partners.

TV REAL: How have you leveraged your previous experience to shape the company’s strategy?
WHITE: It’s impossible to overstate the power of the connection between the audience and Food Network’s star talent. It’s a priceless relationship built on trust, authenticity and expertise. Butternut is a supremely talent-focused production company, and our slate is centered on authentic experts in the home and food space—each with a completely unique point of view. That connection between expert and viewer is the magic of this genre and our strategic driving force.

TV REAL: Looking at the food and lifestyle space, what’s trending at the moment?
WHITE: Home and food shows are, by nature, uplifting, inspiring, entertaining, informative and comforting. They appeal broadly across all age groups and encourage family viewing. We so often hear these are the shows people want to watch to end their day. Yes, this content is also popular with advertisers, but I’ve always approached my work with a singular focus on delighting the viewer, and lifestyle shows, at their best, are just that: delightful.

TV REAL: What types of stories would you like to tell?
WHITE: A Butternut project takes the best DNA from successful lifestyle sub-genres and reinvents and freshens it via new and unique expert voices. We deliver on everything that audiences want and expect from home and food shows—then overdeliver in surprising, fun new ways.

TV REAL: What will you be focused on with Butternut for the 12 to 18 months ahead?
WHITE: Over the next few months, our focus at Butternut will be to continue developing exciting IP-driven home and food shows while working with a range of established, emerging and homegrown talent.

About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at


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