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WMA going to Rio

Agency to help casino-hotel mine H'wood gold

Las Vegas’ Rio Suite Hotel & Casino has hired the William Morris Agency as a consultant for the resort’s entertainment activities.

An announcement said the agreement is aimed at creating strategic alliances and joint ventures between Rio and the Hollywood entertainment industry and at identifying “content, talent and branded programming opportunities on behalf of the Rio.”

The William Morris team on the Rio account are vice chairman Jerry Katzman along with Johnny Levin and John Mass of the agency’s corporate advisory group, Susan Weaving of WMA’s Broadway touring division and Dave Snyder, head of WMA’s adult contemporary music activities.

Access content

While William Morris could not give specific examples of the types of alliances the team would try to put together, Levin said the agency initially would help Rio “access the entertainment industry’s content companies and the talent.”

“Together the companies will develop new and innovative concepts in all forms of entertainment,” said Anthony Marnell II, chairman and CEO of the Rio Suite Hotel & Casino, the Carnivale-themed hotel which recently embarked on a $200 million expansion that will include a convention and entertainment center.

The expanded site is slated to open spring 1999 and will host sporting events, concerts and other special events.

Unique attractions

The announcement of William Morris’ consultancy with Rio is further evidence of Las Vegas’ demand for unique entertainment attractions.

Nearly three months ago, Hollywood manager-producer Sandy Gallin joined the entertainment arm of Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts.

Gallin was brought on board to create entertainment and sports attractions for the Mirage casino-hotel chain.

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