Like many of its predecessors, including Pinkberry: The Movie, Yom Kippur At WME and Staff Meeting: The Movie and The Transfer, another department video from the latest WME quarterly meeting is making the rounds online. It is pilot season-themed and features the head of the agency’s TV department, Rick Rosen, as a boss from hell commandeering his put-upon second assistant (played by WME client Nelson Franklin) to deliver gifts to all of the agency’s clients with pilot orders to congratulate them on the start of production of their pilots. The gifts’ recipients include Howard Gordon, executive producer of CBS drama pilot Anatomy Of Violence, along with FX’s Tyrant and TNT’s Legends; Shawn Ryan, writer-exec producer of CBS’ Beverly Hills Cop; and Larry Charles, director of ABC’s Mixology. The short film, written by Tony Dodds and directed by Todd Biermann, also features a jab at Jeff Berg and his startup agency Resolution, which is yet to hire TV lit agents and get in the TV packaging business, and a middle-finger salute at the building of rival CAA. It also has Deadline on the WME assistants’ computers, so thanks for the plug!
2ND UPDATE, FRIDAY 3 PM: This morning after being intro’ed by Patrick Whitesell, John Fogelman stood up at WME’s quarterly meeting inside the Beverly Wilshire Hotel and gave a small “I-was-lucky-to-work-here” speech. He received a standing ovation. Love him or hate him (and those laid-off Morris agents who weren’t given the opportunity to transition to WME sure do), Fogelman nevertheless is a force of nature to be reckoned with in Hollywood. WME insiders don’t expect the agency to replace John on the board. ”The feeling is that there are too many people on the board already. Don’t expect them to add another name,” I’m told.
Meanwhile, Fogelman’s decision to depart WME was by no means sudden. I’m told he made the decision as far back as December right after a conversation with his kids. ”They love the Seinfeld show and were asking him why did Jerry quit. And John told them, ‘Because the ideal is that you quit when you’re at the top.’ And that started the thought in his head,” said one of my insiders. Fogelman considers the pinnacle of his career when he turned Discovery Kids into The Hub with Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner. See their photo above from this Wall Street Journal story back in November 2009. (“I launched a network. No agent had ever done that before,” John tells pals.) As well as helping his clients JJ Abrams (still managed by David Lonner) and Michael Bay on this … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: WME is the victor in the very lucrative Dick Wolf sweepstakes. After taking a month and a half following his surprising exit from UTA to ponder his top agency options, the Law & Order creator has signed with WME. I hear he made the decision just before Thanksgiving. Wolf has strong personal ties with top TV agents at WME, CAA, and ICM, and that created some intrigue over where he would choose to go after spending 11 years at UTA. But there had been growing speculation over the past couple of weeks that he was headed to WME. Wolf will be represented by head of TV and board member Rick Rosen who is his Santa Barbara neighbor and a good friend.
Last month, a source explained Wolf’s departure from his longtime agency to Deadline’s Nikki Finke as the result of frustration over his inability to launch a successful non-Law & Order branded series as well as the fact that the mothership Law & Order couldn’t clinch a renewal that would have made it the single longest-running drama on television, an honor it now shares with Gunsmoke. Still, after two decades after the launch of his franchise, Wolf remains one of the top earners in television with a very lucrative deal at NBC Universal for his Wolf Films and a truckload of money from domestic and international TV syndication. He has three Law & Order series currently on the air: veteran Law & Order: SVU and … Read More »
UPDATE From Nikki Finke: “Dick has been unhappy for a while,” one source is telling me as the reason behind Dick Wolf leaving UTA, his agency of 11 years. (Deadline TV Editor Nellie Andreeva broke the news today. See below.) Wolf was close with Peter Benedek and had a friendship with Tracey Jacobs there. But in the end, when it comes to Wolf, it’s all about network series, and “he was frustrated and nervous,” one of my sources explains, which says more about Wolf as a producer after all his success than about UTA’s ability as an agency. “More than anything, he was always frustrated that he couldn’t get any non-Law & Order show on the air in recent years and that he couldn’t build a franchise outside. And he was very frustrated that NBC didn’t give Law & Order classic another year so it could become the longest running American drama series of all time [instead of tied with Gunsmoke]. He’s also worried: he sees that Criminal Intent is in its last cycle next year, that LOLA is not coming out of the gate like gangbusters, and that SVU is fading so that if NBC wasn’t in such terrible straits it wouldn’t even last another 2-3 years even though Dick is the master of stretching those. Look, you know the man, he’s a very vibrant, virile, alpha male-type guy. I’m sure he wanted UTA to shake some nuts off the tree and get more stuff going for him.” Read More »