Two of the industry’s best-known literary boutiques, Broder Kurland Webb Uffner Agency and Sanford-Gross & Associates, said Wednesday they will form a “strategic alliance,” drawing on each other’s strengths in TV and film.Principals at both firms stressed it was not a merger, although they did not rule out that possibility in the future. The alliance will allow the two tenpercenteries to share information and resources, such as tracking projects and deals in the marketplace. It also will mean that both firms will remain in daily contact. BKWU, since its inception in 1978, has become a powerhouse in repping TV writer-producers and directors, with 19 agents and a client roster that includes James Burrows, Chris Carter, Barry Kemp, Martha Williamson and Chuck Lorre. Sanford-Gross, which started in 1982, has its strength in the feature area, with three agents and a roster of clients that includes writer-director Ron Shelton, Michael Radford, Bruce Joel Rubin and Richard Price. Partners at both agencies said the alliance comes after years of working together on an informal basis. “We hope that we could work cooperatively in whatever form it takes for a long time,” said Geoff Sanford, partnered in his agency with Brad Gross. “Together, we are going to do a lot more interesting and proactive things for our clients. This is just the next logical step.” Said Robert Broder, partner in BKWU: “It is really about a group of people who really love what they do for a living working together. … We certainly think this is going to be a terrific working relationship however it evolves. The nature will depend on the course we take.” The move is meant to bolster Sanford-Gross’ experience in TV, while strengthening BKWU’s feature presence. TV boutique firms for example, do benefit from their specialized nature, but often find a need to establish a presence in the feature areas as their clients’ careers advance. Each agency in fact, has in recent years ventured into other areas. BKWU for instance, has taken on feature lit agents since the early 1990s, and clients have intermingled TV and feature work. Robin Schiff, whose credits include TV’s “Almost Perfect,” wrote the recent “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion.” She was exec producer on the pic with Kemp. Repping TV writer-producers in particular has become an increasingly competitive business for all agencies because of the growth of opportunities and because of the lucrative packaging fees, which can carry returns for years to come. “What is important is that the client is given the best opportunities, the most current information and the best expertise on how deals are being done in the marketplace,” Broder said. Each agency however, will continue to work independently as businesses, and to collect separate commissions, the partners said. “If we mutually work on a project together, we will work it out at the time,” Broder said, adding, “This is not about the business of commissions, not about the business of agenting. This is about our clients, and how to afford them the best set of opportunities in the entertainment industry.”
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