Today saw the first public lawsuit against Jeff Berg’s Resolution Agency since the former ICM chief started his own tenpercentery back in January. Resolution was sued in LA Superior Court this morning for fraud, breach of contract, wrongful termination, and emotional distress in a 6-count complaint from Martin Beck (read it here). The LA-based agent and 30-year ICM vet joined Resolution on July 8th but was terminated on August 2nd. Beck booked acts for Vegas casinos and was recruited by Resolution COO Jeff Franklin over the early part of the summer. Among Beck’s clients at ICM were Wayne Newton, Tony Orlando and Frankie Valli who’s hot again because of Jersey Boys. Beck claims in today’s filing that he signed a two-year contract with Resolution for an annual salary of around $165,000 and contends that his severe medical issues would be accommodated. He maintains that he was not expected to bring any clients with him but Newton actually did come over as client. The 11-page complaint notes that the relationship between Beck and Resolution soured after the agency failed to get Valli as a client. Beck says that he was let go after a flurry of emails about his performance and medical condition and seeks his two-year contract salary of $320,000 plus legal costs and penalties under the Fair Employment Act. Additionally, the suit paints Resolution as “fledgling and …
Zero Gravity Signs ‘Hotel 33’ Helmer Kellie Madison; ICM Signs Donovan Marsh; One Entertainment Expands To LA
Hot off her Toronto deal to direct Jason Patrick in Hotel 33 for Open Road Films and Emmett / Furla / Oasis Films, Kellie Madison has signed with Zero Gravity Management. The horror thriller follows a small town Pennsylvania detective investigating the disappearance of a youngster in a haunted hotel where dozens went missing in 1953. Hotel 33 will mark Madison’s directorial debut and she’ll direct from her own script. Madison, also an actress, wrote, directed and produced the award-winning short Bathtub Picnic and wrote and produced telefilm Dear Mr. Gacy starring William Forsythe.
Also at Toronto, writer-director Donovan Marsh has come aboard as a client at ICM Partners for representation in all areas. Marsh’s crime drama iNumber Number premiered at TIFF in the Contemporary World Cinema program, with XYZ Films handling sales and remake rights. South African born Marsh previously directed features Dollars and White Pipes and Spud, adapted from John van de Ruit’s novel. He’s adapted Lauren Beukes’ sci-fi novel Zoo City and is developing a high concept thriller set in the milieu of black market genetic engineering.
Last year ICM Partners restructured and created a new Digital Strategy Division to forge new business and investments in the digital and tech sectors. Today the agency announced the hiring of Sarah Early and Matthew Murray, who will both join the digital team led by Keyvan Peymani. They’ll focus on digital marketing, social media, and interactive entertainment based out of the LA office. Madison Wojciechowski has also come aboard ICM’s Global Branded Entertainment Department working under Carol Goll.
Veteran licensing and endorsements agent Andrew Francis has joined UTA. He previously had been an agent at ICM Partners since 2008. Francis will work in the agency’s branding, licensing and endorsements division headed by UTA partner Lisa Jacobson. He’ll focus on licensing opportunities between brands and talent. Jacobson welcomed Francis as “a terrific addition to our team”. At ICM, Francis secured deals in various fields including music, film, TV, fashion, and sports. He closed deals with Dancing with the Stars and Joes Jeans as well as on-air talent, especially with actors and personalities working in alternative television.
WME – 30 Winners
CAA – 29 Winners
UTA – 15 Winners
ICM - 10 Winners
APA – 4 Winners
Paradigm – 2 Winners
Gersh – 2 Winners
Innovative Artists – 1 Winner
Lead Actor In A Drama Series
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Claire Danes, Homeland
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or A Movie
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Directing For a Miniseries Or A Movie
Jay Roach, Game Change
Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Miniseries or Movie: Game Change
Jay Roach, Executive Producer
Outstanding Drama Series: Homeland
Alex Gansa, Executive Producer
Howard Gordon, Executive Producer
Michael Cuesta, Executive Producer
Gideon Raff, Executive Producer
Avi Nir, Executive Producer
Ran Telem, Executive Producer
Alexander Cary, Co-Executive Producer
Meredith Stiehm, Consulting Producer
Cindy Chupack, Co-Executive Producer
Outstanding Children’s Nonfiction, Reality or Reality-Competition Program: Sesame Street: Growing Hope Against Hunger (PBS)
Kevin Clash, Producer
Outstanding Nonfiction Special: George Harrison: Living In The Material World (HBO)
Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Executive Producer For Sikelia Productions
Produced by Martin Scorsese
Outstanding Special Class: Short-format Live-Action Entertainment Programs: Children’s Hospital (Cartoon Network)
Rob Corddry, Executive Producer
David Wain, Executive Producer
Outstanding Variety Series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart
Jill Katz, Producer
Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series: The Daily Show With Jon Stewart (Comedy Central)
Kevin Bleyer, Writer
John Oliver, Writer
Jason Ross, Writer
EXCLUSIVE: Jillian Michaels has re-signed with ICM Partners, which just brokered her deal to return to The Biggest Loser. Michaels was repped by ICM when she was first tapped as a trainer on the NBC weight-loss competition series after first working at ICM as an agent. She left the agency for CAA in 2008. Michaels departed The Biggest Loser after Season 11 in 2011. She will be back for the upcoming childhood obesity-themed fourteenth season. Michaels most recently did a brief stint as a co-host of The Doctors.
EXCLUSIVE… (UPDATED WITH FX RELEASE BELOW): I’ve learned that veteran ICM agent and partner Nicole Clemens is becoming a senior development executive at FX. She is joining as the network’s SVP Series Development beginning in August. A longtime head of ICM’s motion picture lit department, Clemens began in TV and one of her key clients is Kurt Sutter of the FX series’ Sons Of Anarchy, and she works on the film side with Emmy-nominated TV director Jason Winer, director Harald Zwart, Oscar-winning screenwriter Ronald Harwood, and director Neil LaBute. Married to writer Vaun Wilmott, Clemens has said in interviews how she is particularly proud of transitioning clients from the small screen to the big screen and how TV now is cool without stigma. Internally at the agency, Clemens was an early supporter of Chris Silbermann in the behind-the-scenes battling for control at ICM and was instrumental in helping him get the film side on board the recent management buyout. In addition, Clemens over the years has worked closely with the Writers Guild and taken a stand to get film scripters better treatment regarding unpaid rewrites, bake-offs, and other tools of torture put in practice by the studios.
UPDATE: Here’s the FX announcement:
ICM Partners has signed Sean Baker, after the film he wrote and directed, Starlet, premiered at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival and sold to Music Box. The film stars Dree Hemingway, James Ransone, and Besedka Johnson, who received a Special Jury Recognition Award for her performance. Baker wrote/directed Prince of Broadway, which won Grand Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2008 Los Angeles Film Festival, among other accolades. He was nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Independent Spirit Awards for Prince Of Broadway and Take Out.
ICM’s shift from having a “new media” unit to one that deals with “digital strategy” is Step One in a plan to expand its involvement with Silicon Valley. Up to now the agency had pretty much stuck to cutting deals for clients; now it will make its own investments and forge alliances. Keyvan Peymani, who’ll run the new unit, helped Warner with its efforts to show movies on Facebook and acquire Flixster. George Ruiz, who ran the new media operation, will “transition out of the agency” but continue to manage his clients, the company says. Here’s the release:
Los Angeles, June 4, 2012 – ICM Partners today announced the agency’s formation of the Digital Strategy Division, and the agency has hired Warner Bros. executive Keyvan Peymani to lead it. As head of digital strategy, Peymani will focus on expanding the agency’s efforts across all aspects of the technology and digital sectors, bringing innovative opportunities to the agency and its clients, including the creation of new businesses and investments with long-term benefits. George Ruiz, former head of new media, will transition out of the agency, continuing to manage the careers of his clients with ICM Partners.
Writer-director Mark Jackson has signed with ICM. Jackson received the Someone to Watch Award at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards, and his debut feature Without, starring Joslyn Jensen and Ron Carrier, played the festival circuit in 2011-12. The film was partially funded by the $13,817 it raised on Kickstarter.
UPDATE: It’s been a long, winding, and troubled road which began more than a year ago, but ICM President Chris Silbermann now has completed his management buyout – thus putting an official end to what was a destabilizing period for the agency. I can tell you that Jeff Berg, Chris Silbermann, Rick Levy and all the other bigwigs are giving up their titles at the new ‘ICM Partners’. In fact all 29 partners won’t have titles. The management buyout deal was finalized and signed late last night and presented to the staff first thing this morning. It’s the end of an agenting era: Chairman/CEO Berg has been the longest serving tenpercentery head in Hollywood – since 1978 when he was made ICM’s president. He will remain as an agent but surrender his management role in exchange for tens of millions of dollars over the next years. The tenpercentery is going to be 100% owned and operated by its agents after the buyout of Berg and ICM’s major investor, Connecticut-based Rizvi Traverse Management which has owned 40%. The pair sold their interest for a combination of cash, preferred non-voting shares, and an ongoing financial interest in certain assets of the agency. The official announcement just released says:
Reflecting the new, collaborative structure, the agency will be renamed ICM Partners. Representing a cross-section of the agency’s core departments – film, television, publishing and touring, those named to the partnership
EXCLUSIVE: After seven years at ICM and a total of 15 with agent Greg Lipstone, ITV Studios America has signed with WME in all areas, including unscripted and scripted TV. The company (then Granada America) was repped by Lipstone at WMA until 2005, when he moved to ICM, bringing Granada with him. With the 2009 merger between WMA and Endeavor, ITV Studios’ signing with WME represents a return of sorts to its old agency.
The series pickups ITV Studios landed while with ICM include reality series Kitchen Nightmares (Fox); Steven Seagal: Lawman (A&E); Meet The In-Laws (CMT); Four Weddings, On the Fly and May The Best House Win (TLC); Real Life: The Musical (OWN); NBC drama Prime Suspect; and upcoming ABC comedy The Family Tools. (Lipstone also packaged the company’s hit Hell’s Kitchen while at WMA; the package is owned by WMA successor WME.) The list of pilots include The Chase (Fox), Surprise, Surprise (NBC), Devil’s Dinner Party (CW, presentation), and The Audience, which is being shopped. ITV Studios’ syndicated series credits include The Jeremy Kyle Show, The Bill Cunningham Show and America Now/America Today.
EXCLUSIVE: Yet another talent agent is departing the ICM hallways, but this time it’s amicable and he’s not going to a competitor. Veteran Brian Bunnin is joining Vincent Herbert’s Streamline Entertainment as SVP Production and Development. “I’m thrilled to work alongside Vince and his entire groundbreaking team and look forward to continue working with ICM in a new capacity,” Bunnin said in a statement to Deadline. He began his tenure at ICM in 1999 as an intern while attending film school at USC and has been on teams representing Kevin Zegers, Stark Sands, Sean Kingston, The Game, Kathy Bates, and Kris Kristofferson.
The upfronts serve as a scorecard for the major agencies’ television departments. Here is our count for agency packages on the 39 new scripted primetime series ordered by the broadcast networks for the 2012/2013 season. Most of the agency totals include shared packages. Obviously, this is a very narrow snapshot of the TV agency landscape by omitting unscripted shows, returning series, and cable. We will start to expand our scorecard into those areas beginning next year.
The Neighbors, How To Live With Your Parents, Malibu Country, Last Resort, Mistresses, 666 Park Ave, Made In Jersey, Golden Boy, Vegas, Ben & Kate, The Following, Go On, The New Normal, Chicago Fire, Revolution, Hannibal, Infamous, Beauty & The Beast, Cult, Emily Owens, MD
Malibu Country, Zero Hour, Nashville, Friend Me, Made In Jersey, Elementary, Goodwin Games, The Mob Doctor, The New Normal, Save Me, Animal Practice, Guys With Kids, Hannibal, Beauty & The Beast, Family Tools, Crossbones** (*CAA’s tally may go up to 17 because agency is in negotiations for a piece of the package on comedy How To Live With Your Parents, ** CAA is packaging involvement is through financing, UTA has full package on the show in the traditional sense)
Red Widow, Mistresses, Elementary, Friend Me, Emily Owens MD, Mindy, Goodwin Games, Save Me, Animal Practice, Next Caller, Do No Harm, Crossbones
Family Tools, Revolution, Infamous, 1600 Penn, The Mob Doctor
EXCLUSIVE: Shirley MacLaine is in negotiations to play the royal title character in Mother Goose. The Oscar winner, who earlier this year joined the upcoming third season of U.K. costume drama Downton Abbey, would play the Queen of a fantasy fairyland. The film tells the tale of siblings Jack and Jill as they navigate Mother Goose’s magical kingdom. The brother and sister need to figure out three riddles that will allow them to return home and get ahold of a key held by Mother Goose herself. Hannover House, a division of Target Development Group, is distributing the film. Michael Snyder wrote the Mother Goose screenplay. The writer will serve as a producer on the film. Hannover House CEO Eric Parkinson and company President Fred Shefte will executive produce. Filming for Mother Goose is expected to occur in Arkansas, Poland and Los Angeles. MacLaine is repped by ICM.
ICM Implosion Stopped: Chris Silbermann Stays, Less Power For Jeff Berg
ICM Part 3: Agency Board & Rizvi Blow Off Silbermann’s Demands
ICM Part 2: Silbermann Forces Decision By Rizvi; Relying On Mike Ovitz
ICM Imploding! Silbermann & Berg Battle For Control
EXCLUSIVE: Insiders are telling me that ICM President Chris Silbermann has completed his management buyout except for the “little legalities”, thus putting an official end to what was a destabilizing period for the agency. The tenpercentery is going to be 100% owned and operated by its agents as soon as the lawyers “put in the periods and semicolons” on the contracts. ”This is truly exciting to be able to say to agents, ‘You’re going to own your company.’” It will emphasize ICM’s entrepreneurial culture and begin an expansion,” a source tells me. I understand that some agents are going to be exiting as a result. (“Those agents not asked to be partner will take it personally,” one of my sources explains.) Now it’s a waiting game to see who stays and who goes. (I’ll report only confirmed names, not rumored.) ICM so far has announced no details about this restructuring. Silbermann’s goal over the past year has been to take over the tenpercentery and obtain more ownership of the agency from its major investor: Connecticut-based Rizvi Traverse Management which has owned 40% of ICM. After some very difficult months behind the scenes and then played out in public, Suhail Rizvi eventually decided to play ball with Silbermann’s demands — or face the threat that his senior TV agents might walk out of the tenpercentery. Assisting Silbermann in this power play was Rick Levy, ICM’s Chief Business Development Officer & General Counsel who was a longtime confidante to ICM Chairman/CEO Jeff Berg until this buyout plan was hatched. I understand that Berg’s ownership of ICM also is being bought out and he has been offered to continue at the agency as Chairman Emeritus.
EXCLUSIVE: ICM television agent Nick Khan, whose clients include firebrand anchors Keith Olbermann and Nancy Grace, is leaving the agency. Sources say he is going to CAA though the agency is not confirming the hire at this time. Khan joined boutique lit agency Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann at the end of 2005 to launch a sports/news broadcaster division. He segued to ICM following the two agencies’ merger six months later. Expected to move with Khan to CAA are all his clients: Olbermann, Grace, sports broadcasters/analysts Hannah Storm, John Anderson, Jim Lampley, Jalen Rose and Max Kellerman as well as boxing trainer Freddie Roach. Additionally, Khan is bringing with him the junior agent in the ICM broadcaster department, Evan Dick. Khan, whose sister is Don’t Trust The B— In Apt. 23 creator Nahnatchka Khan, had been pondering a move for awhile. While he was single-handedly running the sports and news broadcaster business at ICM, an agency focused on its core TV and film lit/talent areas, at CAA Khan would join a team of established agents including Alan Berger, Andy Elkin and Trace Armstrong.
In a 16-page civil complaint filed in LA Superior Court yesterday, the talent agency says its former client owes it more than $370,000 in past commissions from the hit MTV reality series. And ICM says Paul DelVecchio, his real name, also owes it more than $200,000 from the upcoming season of Jersey Shore. The suit says that it’s “standard custom and practice” for talent agencies to receive “post-termination commissions on all deals they negotiate for their client.” Pauly D left ICM on May 5, 2011, after less than a year. DelVecchio is now represented by WME which negotiated his current Pauly D Project spin-off series. It debuted on MTV on March 29, 2012.