Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eva and King of Hollywood, ARI emanuel

Ovitz Redux: Emanuel is Hollywood Chief-of-Staff

As someone who has been on the receiving end of this agent's charm, bragging prowess on behalf of his clients and wrath--
yes, I survived being yelled at by Ari Emanuel--I commend to you Kim Masters' report on the man running the new WME combine.

Masters makes the inevitable comparison between uber-agent on the rise Ari Emanuel and the last Hollywood Samurai, Mike Ovitz (whose Bible was The Art of War).

But while Emanuel can be manipulative, this power-agent is more impressive than Ovitz was in his prime.

Ovitz played mind games; I never believed a word that he said.

On the other hand, Masters suggests that Ovitz's CAA filled a Hollywood power vacuum that no longer exists.

CAA still dominates the agency field, and the WMA/Endeavor merger had to happen because the economy sucks.

Masters reports that at Fox:

Emanuel held up renewal of a major deal with Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane, while demanding that his agency receive a mutimillion-dollar fee for “packaging” the show.

Studios routinely pay those fees when an agency puts together key elements in a program—say a writer and an actor.

What’s extraordinary in this case is that the show had been on the air since 1999.

Fox was staggered that Endeavor demanded the fees—outgoing News Corp. President and COO Peter Chernin is said to have described Emanuel’s demand as “extortion.”

But the show had a break from 2002 until 2005, when it returned thanks to strong ratings in re-runs and big DVD sales, so Endeavor argued that it was entitled to the money, and Fox, normally one of the toughest customers in the business, caved.

And a few years back, the model for Ari Gold in Entourage and then-partner Marty Adelstein:

...calculated how many average minutes they were on network television thanks to their floor seats at Laker games.

Then they contacted NetJets, a company that provides ownership stakes in those coveted private jets.

They offered to wear NetJets T-shirts or hats at those games in exchange for access to the G-V of their dreams.

NetJets passed and the two wound up with an unsolicited offer from Captain Morgan’s Rum—with the condition that the Captain sit with them at games.

They passed.

Actors ratify Hollywood movie & TV contract, give up fight for better Web compensation for now

Ryan Nakashima, AP Business Writer

On Tuesday June 9, 2009, 10:29 pm EDT

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Members of the Screen Actors Guild voted overwhelmingly to ratify a two-year contract covering movies and prime-time TV shows made by the major Hollywood studios, the union announced Tuesday.

Some 78 percent of those who voted were in favor of the deal, a show of unity following a bitter dispute that saw Guild members fighting among themselves and left them further behind than where they started.

About 110,000 SAG members were sent ballots and more than 35 percent cast votes.

The new contract immediately raises actors' minimum pay by 3 percent and grants another 3.5 percent raise in the second year of the deal, which along with better pension benefits and some Internet compensation gives them $105 million in overall gains, the union said.

But it does not improve upon the Internet terms that other unions have already accepted.

Negotiators replaced in January had sought more lucrative Web compensation.

SAG fought alone for better terms than were secured by writers, directors and another actors union called AFTRA, but the battle ended up hurting it as TV studios like ABC, NBC, Fox and CBS sent most of their new work AFTRA's way.

SAG maintains exclusive jurisdiction over feature films.

The deal comes nearly a year after the last contract expired, meaning SAG actors lost out on proposed raises over the past year that the studios estimated totaled nearly $80 million.

"We were behind the eight ball to some extent with the amount of time we had been working without a contract at all," said Adam Arkin, an actor who was elected to the Guild's board last fall.

"Whatever gains are to be made in the future are going to have to start with us not going down the road of this level of fracture within the community of SAG."

The new contract takes effect after midnight and expires on June 30, 2011, about the same time as those of other unions, allowing SAG to maintain the future threat of a joint strike.

That expiration date had been one of the final points of contention.

The past year's infighting came to a head in January when recently elected moderates staged a boardroom coup, ousting the Guild's national executive director, Doug Allen, and muzzling President Alan Rosenberg.

That set a new tone as Interim Executive Director David White worked to salvage a deal in back-door talks with executives such as Walt Disney Co. Chief Executive Bob Iger and Warner Bros.

Chief Executive Barry Meyer. Warner Bros. is a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

A tentative deal was reached in April, about a year after talks first began.

White said in a statement that work on the next round of negotiations "begins now," adding that he would also begin to repair damaged relations with other unions.

SAG and AFTRA split acrimoniously last year and decided to negotiate deals with the studios separately for the first time in three decades.

Rosenberg acknowledged Tuesday that actors did not agree with his executive team's hard stance.

But he said he would run for a third term as president in the fall and hope to be part of the contract talks in two years.

"Our point of view was rejected for now. I don't think it was because they said necessarily we're wrong," he said.

"You need solidarity.

We weren't able to build that this time."

Every major segment of SAG voted for the deal, with 71 percent of voting Hollywood actors, 86 percent in New York and 89 percent in other U.S. regions voting in favor.

The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Artists, the coalition of major studios, on Tuesday called the ratification "good news for the entertainment industry."

The directors' guild and AFTRA also issued congratulatory statements.

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