Courtney LeMarco serves as the Executive Producer and Showrunner for the Emmy-nominated TV show Hoarders.
LeMarco has developed his brand to create opportunities and mentor content producers with diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. To inspire and encourage BIPOC, he created The Lemarco Network app and his mentorship program, The Big Pitch. He is helping break the lack of diversity within the entertainment industry, which he has experienced firsthand, being one of the few Black Showrunners in the business. His app assists in furthering BIPOC’s creative careers by creating a space for them to network and share insight through access to mentorships, creative opportunities, personalized coaching, paid employment opportunities, etc. The LeMarco Network members have access to exclusive Livestream Q&As with LeMarco and his executive team, chances to pitch TV and film concepts via weekly Pitch Sessions, master class courses on production, licensing, and more.
LeMarco has built his career from the ground up, facing various obstacles and struggles. Every choice he has made has elevated him to the space he is in today. As the entertainment industry continues to grow, LeMarco is opening the door for many content creators and producers, helping promote diversity and inclusivity.
The Knockturnal spoke with LeMarco about his brand and his continuous efforts to help Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) within the entertainment field.
The Knockturnal: You’re the Executive Producer and Showrunner for the show ‘Hoarders,’ can you describe what your experience has been like with the show?
Courtney LeMarco: It’s been an amazing experience producing the series. I work with some of the most creative and inspiring people in the industry and have learned a lot. One of the coolest things about producing the show is the fact that we’re really helping people. And not just for the cameras as we actually provide ongoing support and therapy for the individuals featured well after the cameras stop rolling.
It’s a very satisfying feeling to see these families face and overcome their problems. One of the most rewarding experiences one could ask for.
The Knockturnal: You’re one of the few Black showrunners in the entertainment business, why do you think that is? Has knowing that affected your outlook on the industry both good and bad?
Courtney LeMarco: Historically, minorities have always been outcasts in the entertainment industry. So it would only make sense that there are fewer of us due to the racist, exclusionary mentality that has permeated Hollywood for decades.
However, the industry as a whole has improved a great deal over the past several years. We are seeing more stories and projects that represent different cultures and ethnicities, produced by POC creators and talent. And on a greater scale, we’re seeing American audiences embrace foreign content from places like Africa, Asia, and other parts of the world. That is truly amazing and gives me a lot of confidence in knowing that these changes will continue, to the benefit of content producers and the audience alike.
The Knockturnal: Tell me a little about your annual competition and mentorship program called ‘The Big Pitch’.
Courtney LeMarco: The Big Pitch is a nationwide competition for aspiring BIPOC content producers. We select a winner, provide development funds, and help them package and shop their concept to studios and networks. The participants work directly with our internal development team throughout the process. It’s a great opportunity for them to learn and has been very inspiring in regards to my own creativity.
The Knockturnal: When deciding to launch your app The LeMarco Network, what was your thought process like? What do you want to accomplish with your brand?
Courtney LeMarco: As a Black showrunner and executive producer, I know firsthand how crucial mentorship and representation in the entertainment industry can be – it can make or break your career. The LeMarco Network app is a community intended to open doors, especially for BIPOC talent in entertainment. Through this community, I hope to empower aspiring filmmakers and artists by providing them with the right guidance, perspective, and most importantly, tangible opportunities to pursue their ambitions.
The Knockturnal: When discussing the phrase ‘self-made’ there are varying opinions on what qualifies someone to be considered a part of that category. How do you define the phrase?
Courtney LeMarco: I define a self-made individual as someone who achieves success despite all odds and opposition. But one cannot be truly successful without the help of others, so there really is no such thing as “self made” in the actual sense. Elon, Bezos and Oprah all have armies of people who work to manage the companies they’ve created. What makes those names I mention special is the fact that they not only had an idea, but they also had the courage to pursue it, regardless of what obstacles they faced. Many people do not have that kind of courage. If they did then there would be a lot more “self made” individuals doing amazing things.
The Knockturnal: Growing up, how were you able to overcome the struggles you’ve faced in life? What did you tell yourself to stay motivated? How were you able to deal with self-doubt and doubt from others?
Courtney LeMarco: For me, it wasn’t about motivation. It was about survival. I really didn’t have a choice but to work to improve my circumstances. I was homeless for a while as a teenager, and I knew the system that I was brought up to believe in was a failure, so I chose my own path and never looked back. The day I dropped out of high school is the day that I actually felt free.
People never really doubted me, as I had always been told from a young age that I was different from everyone else. I didn’t know exactly what that meant, but as I got older it became pretty obvious that my thought process was on a completely different level.
I didn’t have a lot of positive influences motivating me as a child, so I had to find it in myself. The hunger for better circumstances was all the motivation I needed.
The Knockturnal: What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Courtney LeMarco: Shut up and listen. If you let people talk, they’ll eventually tell you everything you need to know.
The Knockturnal: What advice would you give to those who want to follow in your footsteps?
Courtney LeMarco: Be persistent in the pursuit of your goals. If you want it bad enough, you can make anything happen.
The Knockturnal: Anything else you’d like to share?
Courtney LeMarco: I’d love to connect with more creators through my app, The LeMarco Network – now available to download for free in the App Store or Google Play.