The agency is suing Zak Bagans and his production company for unpaid commissions tied to his deal with Travel Channel. In the 14-page complaint filed today in Los Angeles Superior Court (read it here), Abrams Artists Agency claims Bagans and his Zak Bagans Entertainment owe more than $300,000 from the deal that is set to run through April 2015. According to the suit, AAA and Bagans entered into an “oral and/or implied agreement” for representation in 2009. The following year, AAA and Travel Channel struck a deal in which Zak Bagans Entertainment — whose credits include Travel’s Ghost Adventures and Paranormal Challenge — would receive $4.5 million during the next two to three years. But the suit says that after Abrams opted in January not to renew the contract of his agent, Joe Rose, Bagans “unilaterally terminated the agency agreement with AAA. Bagans and ZBA then ceased paying commissions to AAA.” The agency is suing over unpaid commissions since then and its cut of future payments from Travel of more than $2.8 million. The suit seeks a jury trial and at least $305,833.32 plus interest and fees. Attorney Steven H. Blackman of LA’s Isaacman, Kaufman & Painter is repping Abrams.
EXCLUSIVE: The Abrams Artists Agency is beefing the ranks of its New York theatrical youth department with the hire of Don Buchwald & Associates’ Victoria Kress and Katie Chambers as well as former Abrams agent-in-training Jamie Pillet. The move follows last week’s move of Ellen Gilbert, head of Abrams’ New York youth department, and her associate Rachel Altman to Paradigm. Kress, Chambers and Pillet join 20-year Abrams veteran Bonnie Shumofsky, who heads the agency’s Youth Commercial department in New York.
And round and round they go. Just days after Paradigm poached the key members of Abrams Artists’ Youth Department, Abrams has hired the agents of the Youth Department at Buchwald/Fortitude. We hear the entire department — head Pamela Fisher, senior agent Chrissy Eaden and junior agent Famata Kamara — left Buchwald/Fortitude yesterday and will start at Abrams on Monday, bringing their clients with them. They’ll join Domina Holbeck and Jeremy Apody already in Los Angeles and Ellen Gilbert, Bonnie Shumofsky, and Rachel Altman already in NYC. The move comes three months after Don Buchwald & Associates, where the three agents had been based, teamed with Fortitude. Meanwhile, CEO Harry Abrams got on the phone with Deadline today and denied that having primary agents Wendi Green and Jen Millar with good clients from his youth department leaving to join Paradigm is “disastrous”. (Their clients include Angus Jones, the highest-paid “child” actor from Two And A Half Men, Vanessa Marano, and Madeline Carroll.) But Abrams did confirm that what we’d heard; that Marna Palmer, a prominent commercial agent, and Brandon Martinez, the sole agent in the company’s New Media division, decided to depart as well. The CEO told Deadline that Palmer is relocating while Martinez is getting into the music biz.
EXCLUSIVE: I’ve learned that, when the final deal is done, the bulk of the youth department at Abrams Artists Agency will be leaving to join Paradigm. Making the move are Abrams agents Wendi Green and Jen Millar, who are bringing to Paradigm their biggest clients, including Angus Jones, the highest-paid “child” actor from Two And A Half Men. Sources are telling me this is a “devastating loss” to Abrams Artists Agency. “It’s a big deal as it opens up an entire new essential department for Paradigm which is not only a great business in its own right but also helps develop the major stars of tomorrow for the talent department.” The new hires will report to Norm Aladjem, the chairman of Paradigm’s management committee, who was driving this deal. Paradigm is mum, but insiders are denying there’s any Paradigm-Abrams merger in the offing.