CAA has lured Damon Wayans to its fold days after his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans and the agency parted ways.
The falling out between Keenen and CAA comes after the agency was shut out of negotiations for his new latenight show with Buena Vista TV — a deal sources characterized as one of the richest ever paid for TV syndication talent.
Damon Wayans, who last starred in “Bulletproof,” has been with United Talent Agency for about seven months. His signing and the departure of his brother were confirmed by CAA.
Those who know the family said Damon’s return to CAA is unusual because Keenen has much influence over the family’s decisions. Interestingly, Keenen left Fox Broadcasting several years ago, while Damon has a series deal there.
The pact for Keenen Wayans’ syndie strip was negotiated by Buena Vista TV president Mort Marcus and Wayans’ manager Eric Gold, a partner in Gold/Miller. The latter will receive the packaging fee for the project, including a percentage of the strip’s adjusted gross, according to sources. Gold will also co-executive produce the show with Wayans (Daily Variety, March 26).
While BVTV and Gold would not comment on terms of the deal, industry sources said BVTV has agreed to pay $6.5 million regardless of whether the show goes forward. If it proceeds, Wayans will receive about $5 million a year and a significant percentage of the adjusted gross.
About a year ago, Keenen Wayans attempted to leave CAA, according to sources; however, they said, he was convinced to stay and the agency agreed to take commissions only on projects it initiated for him. However, agency reps were upset to be left totally in the dark about the new syndie deal.
It’s unclear whether Wayans will seek another agency or will have his manager and lawyer represent him. Gold did not return phone calls, and CAA had no comment.
Meanwhile, Damon is returning to the agency that was instrumental in getting him together with client Martin Scorsese to star and produce in a Richard Pryor biopic, which is in development at Universal Pictures. CAA said he will now be repped by CAA’s Richard Lovett, Josh Lieberman, Matt Delpiano and David Stein.
Keenen Wayans’ latenight strip is slated to go on the air by August, and BVTV is now pitching it to potential launch groups, including Chris-Craft and Tribune Broadcasting.
BVTV still says it has made no decision on the fate of its new latenight weekly with former NBA player John Salley