UPDATE: Over the years I knew and interviewed Phil Gersh, the late founder of The Gersh Agency and long the dean of Hollywood agents, and he was a model of integrity even in the cutthroat business of Hollywood talent and literary representation. Because of this, reps at other agents long admired him. However, in my opinion, the bloodlines at The Gersh Agency have now thinned to the point where the only reason that certain members of the Gersh family are still running their second-tier agency is because they also belong to the lucky sperm club. On Monday, Deadline had solid information that the Gersh Agency was buying the small motion picture lit agency Hohman Maybank Lieb. We went to Gersh to confirm, on or off the record, and their flack assured us on the phone and by email, “Nothing happening”. That was a lie when a “No Comment” would have sufficed. I’m now told by insiders, principals at Gersh and Hohman Maybank Lieb that day secretly wrote up the press release about the acquisition and held it until today when it was released right after we scooped the story. This afternoon, the flack as well as Bob and David Gersh have made all sorts of excuses to Deadline, including that there had been a “misunderstanding” between agency and flack, and/or between flack and Deadline. But in Hollywood where reps conclude mega-deals based on just a handshake, what’s to misunderstand that The Gersh Agency isn’t run by Phil anymore?
Looking to beef up its place in the independent film finance/distribution arenas, Gersh has promoted to partner Jay Cohen, the producer who last year joined the agency to spearhead the department. Gersh has also hired producer Jennifer Dana to work closely with Cohen to package projects and work with film funds. Dana is in post-production on the Emma Roberts-Freddie Highmore film Homework, which she produced under her Mint Pictures banner. She formed her producing company after a stint with Andrew Lauren Productions. Among the film funds repped by Gersh are Queen Nefertari Productions, Northern Lights Films and Ketchup Media. The agency is also looking to secure offshore equity from Columbia, UK and China.