Tim Cohen-Laurie, Executive Producer, What’s It Worth?

Thinkfactory Media’s Tim Cohen-Laurie is an executive producer on What’s It Worth?, an A&E show that looks for hidden treasures owned by everyday people, starring comedian Jeff Foxworthy as host. Cohen-Laurie talked to us about the pandemic’s effect on the production of the show and how people can be considered for future seasons.

For those who aren’t familiar with what it takes to bring a television show to life, tell us about your role as executive producer on What’s It Worth? 

As an executive producer, I oversee all aspects of the show: casting, the creative look and feel, pacing, and editing. There’s a whole team of us at Thinkfactory Media who have been working for a couple of years to bring What’s It Worth? LIVE to life as a studio-based show. Then of course, earlier this year, the pandemic hit. At that point, we asked ourselves, “What can we do at this time?” and went from there with the 30-minute What’s it Worth? format.

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What were some of the challenges in developing and filming the show during a pandemic?

We knew we couldn’t do the studio show with a live audience at this time because of the pandemic, but we were still in love with the show idea. We started looking into different technologies and what we could do virtually. The idea that Jeff (Foxworthy) could drop into people’s living rooms was pretty exciting. We could see the item, people’s living spaces, and learn more about them and how they came to own the featured item. Sometimes people knew nothing about what they had, particularly if the item was passed down from previous generations. We had a lot of fun with that.

Many people are involved in making a television show. Working from home because of the pandemic added different elements. We had people working together (virtually) from their own spaces all across the country; Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta where Jeff lives. We could still get the best people to work on the show, all virtually. The casting team worked from home and did a lot of video conference calls and emails back and forth. We worked with an outside tech company that helped ensure all went smoothly.

During filming, I had a number of different screens set up in my living room so I could see Jeff, the guests, and other producers. The setting served as a virtual control room. It all took some adjusting, but we are really proud of the show.

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What makes Jeff Foxworthy a great host for the show?

Jeff is a collector himself. He has collected autographs from his tours and appearances, starting with baseballs signed by all sorts of people in sports, entertainment, and politics.

He’s also a pleasure to work with and such a nice guy. We would film segments for the show with Jeff and the guests, then during the breaks, Jeff would go back to continue talking with them. He has a genuine interest in people, their collectibles, and how the people came across them. He was at the top of our list for show host.

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How did the show choose the featured guests and collectibles? 

Our casting department scoured the country. First and foremost is the item itself. Sometimes we look for people in certain areas of the country, but because of the virtual nature of the show, we could really look anywhere. We wanted to find people with stories to tell.

As Jeff says, “There’s the value of the item and the value of the item to someone.” Some items featured on the show had no actual monetary value, while others were worth a ton of money – still, the owners would never sell them because of the sentimental value. Everyone on What’s It Worth? has a different story to tell. However, at the heart of it all, are these really cool items and finding out what they’re worth.

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Can we look forward to more seasons of the show?

We sure hope so! We’re really proud of the show; Jeff and our experts all did a wonderful job. We’re excited to be in this space and finding out what these treasures are worth. And it’s great to have a television show for family viewing. Maybe some of those families have a treasure in their attic or basement, too? If people would like to get in touch to tell us about their item, they can email us at whatsitworth@itv.com.

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What’s It Worth? airs Tuesdays at 9pm ET/PT on A&E.