BREAKING: Even as Jeff Berg was locking down an investment in the agency this week from Beijing-based Bison Capital, rumors raced that other less desirable shakeups were about to happen. We are hearing that veteran motion picture agents Adam …
Paula Deen is looking to grow her brand again less than a year after being dropped from her high-profile gig at Food Network. Paula Deen Ventures — which includes Paula Deen Foods, Paula Deen Media, Paula Deen Restaurants, Paula Deen Cookware and Paula Deen Home — is being backed by Najafi Media, the deep-pocketed content and distribution subsidiary of Najafi Cos. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it is: Founder and CEO Jahm Najafi was the principal investor and financing partner who with Jeff Berg launched Resolution talent agency in January 2013 — the first major full-service agency start-up in almost two decades. Paula Deen Ventures will be run by retail veteran Steven Nanula, who for the last two years led the development of the Paula Deen Food Company.
Nanula told the Wall Street Journal the company is in talks with TV networks and other possible partners, but no deals have been signed. The WSJ says the investment is from $75 million-$100 million.
Najafi is a former Salomon Bros banker active in real estate and private equity. The Phoenix-based firm has been in the mix of several deals as it adds to its entertainment industry holdings, which include ownership stakes in the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, Direct Brands (BMG Music Service, SkyMall, Columbia House and Book Of The Month Club), and Toronto-based recorded media manufacturer Cinram. “All of us at Najafi Companies have a deep respect for the hard work, unique content and quality products which Paula has built around her brand,” Najafi said today in a release announcing the partnership with Deen. “We know that the enterprise will be successful and valuable, as Paula and her team continue to bring quality products and experiences to her loyal fan base; and now we have a proven management team in place to build and lead the organization.”
EXCLUSIVE: Resolution just signed Clifton Collins, Jr., in all areas. I’ve been watching this guy since he went mano a mano with Samuel Jackson in the Kevin Reynolds-directed One Eight Seven and his turn as murderer Perry Smith in …
Katie Cates joins Resolution from the Kaplan Stahler Agency. She brings with her clients Daniel Knauf, showrunner of NBC’s Dracula and creator of HBO’s Carnivale; William Schmidt; female comedy duo Magee & Millan (Us & Them); Crevello & Niedermeyer (NBC’s The Fifth Wheel); J. Mackye Gruber (The Butterfly …
Thomas Dekker Moves To Resolution; CAA Signs Brooke Burke-Charvet; ‘Graceland’ Director Ron Morales To APA
Actor Thomas Dekker (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Nightmare On Elm Street) has signed with Resolution. He previously was a client of WME. The 25-year-old most recently graced TV screens on The CW’s The Secret Circle and HBO’s Cinema Verite with James Gandolfini. His indie film streak of late includes Gregg Araki’s Kaboom, Catherine Hardwick’s Plush, and The White City. Dekker is also repped by The Schiff Co and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.
Onetime Dancing With The Stars contestant-turned-DWTS co-host Brooke Burke-Charvet has signed with CAA. She’s going into her seventh season co-hosting the ABC show, which she won in season 7. Burke-Charvet continues to be managed by Bx2 Management and Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.
EXCLUSIVE: Resolution has signed maverick director Paul Verhoeven. The filmmaker had been at ICM Partners, but that became tenuous after his primary, Nicole Clemens, left to take an executive job at FX. He continues with longtime manager Marion Rosenberg.
It has been awhile since the blockbuster phase Verhoeven fell into right after arriving from the Netherlands when he helmed Robocop, Total Recall and Basic Instinct. The first two of those have been re-made, and it seems just a matter of time for the latter. The blockbusters ended with the release of Showgirls, a flop now regarded as something of a camp classic. More recently, Verhoeven’s Black Book was nominated for a BAFTA. He has other projects, but continues to work toward getting up and running with a movie informed by his book Jesus Of Nazareth. Muse Productions’ Chris Hanley, whose credits include American Psycho, has been funding development of a project that Verhoeven researched for two decades. Script is being written by Roger Avary, who shared the Academy Award for Best Original Script with Quentin Tarantino for Pulp Fiction.
Verhoeven has been obsessed with the enduring legacy of Jesus Christ, but he has never embraced the miracles and resurrection that are detailed in The New Testament. That includes the virgin birth and the resurrection. Verhoeven doesn’t believe any of them happened. I wrote about Verhoeven’s ambitions in spring 2011, and it has been rough sledding. Among the theories spun by Verhoeven in the book: Jesus might have been the product of his mother being raped by a Roman soldier, which Verhoeven said was commonplace at the time, and that Jesus was a radical prophet who performed exorcisms and was convinced he would find the kingdom of Heaven on earth, and did not know he would be sentenced to die on the cross by Pontius Pilate.
EXCLUSIVE: Jeff Berg’s Resolution is launching a TV lit department with the hire of boutique TV lit agency Rothman Brecher Kim partner Dennis Kim, as senior television agent representing writers, producers and directors. Since unveiling Resolution in January, Berg has built up the motion picture lit and film and TV talent divisions of the agency with a number of high-profile hires. The appointment of Kim gives Resolution a toehold in the lucrative TV lit business. “Dennis provides us with a deep set of relationships across the broadcast and cable communities. He is a highly respected agent and will play a key role in developing our television business,” Berg said. “We are fortunate to have him join us as he will be working with many of our film clients as well as the writers and producers he has represented over the years.”
Kim began his career at UTA where he was promoted to agent off then-partner Gavin Polone’s desk. He joined The Rothman Agency in 1998 and was elevated to partner in 2012 when the agency’s name was changed to Rothman Brecher Kim. The agency, which recently has been approached by a number of companies about being acquired but has opted to remain independent, will now revert to its previous moniker Rothman Brecher. “We’re going to miss Dennis Kim, our partner for the last year and associate for the previous 14 years, who has elected to join Resolution Agency,” owners Robb Rothman and Dan Brecher said. “All of us at the company wish Dennis the best. Luckily we found some Rothman Brecher stationary in storage which will tide us over until the new stuff arrives”.