Less than three weeks after she was abruptly fired as chief operating officer of PMK/HBH, Leslee Dart today opens the doors of the Dart Group, an entertainment/marketing company.
Venture is expected to begin with a client list of directors and producers who quit PMK/HBH right after CEO Pat Kingsley sacked Dart, a move attributed to a power struggle over who would run the biggest celeb-repping company in show business.
Dart confirmed Sunday that she would start her new venture immediately, operating with an assistant in temporary office space on West 57th Street as she searches for permanent quarters and prepares to staff up.
Client list would include Imagine’s Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, Scott Rudin, Conan O’Brien, Jonathan Demme, Mike Nichols, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Anthony Minghella, Sydney Pollack, Ellen Barkin, Martin Scorsese and Stephen Daldry as well as the “Oprah Winfrey Presents” telepic franchise.
Dart will get Oscar campaigns off and running on Nichols’ “Closer,” Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” and Demme’s “The Manchurian Candidate.”
While Dart was presumed to have a noncompete clause in her contract when she was terminated Nov. 17, speculation has been that as long as she doesn’t raid her former agency for staff and clients, Dart should be able to sign the longtime clients who resigned from PMK/HBH right after the agency ended her 23-year run.
Dart will be working side by side with former PMK cohorts right away. She will become involved in “The Aviator” on behalf of Scorsese. That film, which is shaping up to be a serious Oscar contender, is being repped by PMK/HBH, an arrangement that came about because of Kingsley’s longtime client Michael Mann.