Block, 12 others join ICM

After protracted negotiations, International Creative Management officials confirmed yesterday that InterTalent Agency topper Bill Block and 12 of his associates have joined ICM, as expected (Daily Variety, Oct. 13).

The 38-year-old Block–who is returning to ICM after four years of running his own shop–has been installed as head of the agency’s West Coast office, with day-to-day responsibilities for the motion picture and television areas. He also will be involved with the overall management of the agency.

Former ITA partners David Greenblatt and Mark Rossen become co-heads of the TV department and, in tandem with worldwide head of TV Alan Berger, will manage the combined activities of the division.

Sources say one of the sticking points in making Greenblatt’s deal was his reluctance to report to Berger. Greenblatt also represents clients in the motion picture field, including screenwriter Shane Black (“Lethal Weapon,””The Last Boy Scout”).

Also joining ICM are former ITA business affairs topper Robin Russell and agents Scott Arnovitz, Barbara Dreyfus, Ariel Emanuel, Ken Kamins, Kim McNeal, Chris Moore, Steve Sanford, Tom Strickler and Jeanne Williams.

With the addition of the ITA group, ICM boasts an agent lineup said to be 140 strong, including its international contingent in L.A.

Traditionally, ICM has been characterized by an informal management structure. And Block’s appointment apparently leaves ICM vice chairman Guy McElwaine, who has been acting as the de facto head of the film department, in an ambiguous role.

Sources indicated that a number of layoffs are imminent at ICM. Some of these cuts reportedly had been planned before the deal was struck with the ITA agents; other staffers will be let go in order to make room for the newcomers.

“We think there will be two rounds of cuts,” an ICM insider said yesterday. “Maybe one before Bill comes in, and then he’ll come aboard and do his own cutting.”

Among the clients that ICM is expected to acquire along with Block and the other ITA agents are actors Charlie Sheen, Andrew Dice Clay and Ken Wahl and directors Randa Haines, Roger Spottiswoode, Sam Raimi, Chris Menges, Russell Mulcahy, John Waters and Roland Emmerich.

Consummation of Block’s deal to rejoin ICM comes after months of rumors and denials that he hadbeen looking to make a dramatic change with regards to the future of his 4-year-old agency.

After heading the agency’s literary department for four years, Block ankled ICM in February 1988 to launch ITA with Creative Artists Agency counterparts Greenblatt and Judy Hofflund.

While Block is returning to ICM as a major force at the agency, his move also represents an admission that he was unable to fulfill his ambition of transforming ITA into a top-tier agency with superstar clients.

By joining forces with ICM, Block will be a major player at an agency with a number of A-list clients and with greater financial clout.

A year ago, ICM reportedly logged revenues of about $ 75 million on $ 900 million in billings. But the industry recession and studio cost-cutting efforts have likely depressed ICM’s numbers in the past year.

Yesterday’s confirmation of Block’s ICM deal and the dissolution of ITA come on the heels of the acquisition of another mid-sized house, 8-year-old Triad Artists, by the industry’s oldest and once most-powerful agency, William Morris (Daily Variety, Oct. 19).

Just over a week ago, in order to bolster its agent and talent ranks, mid-size United Talent Agency signed deals with former ITA partners Hofflund, J.J. Harris and David Schiff (Daily Variety, Oct. 14). There is expected to be a further shakeout of jobs as the agency business continues to consolidate.

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