UTA gets a reality check

Major changes hit the tenpercentery

A correction was made to this article on Mar. 9, 2005.

UTA is beefing up its reality TV department, adding a trio of agents and a dedicated business affairs topper.

Among the changes at the tenpercentery announced Tuesday by alternative division topper Chris Coelen:

  • Anne Barnett, longtime FremantleMedia senior VP of business and legal affairs, has been tapped head of business affairs for alternative television.

  • Former MTV development director Geoff Suddleson — who worked on skeins such as “Sorority Life” and “The Assistant” — has joined as an agent in the alternative division.

  • Brett Hansen, who’s been a TV lit agent at UTA since 2001, has moved over to the reality department. While focusing on alternative series, he’ll continue to service his current talent and lit clients, including Paris Hilton, Michael J. Fox and Pete Aronson.

  • Carlos Carreras has been upped to agent status, having served as an assistant in the department since 2002. He’ll focus on international and Spanish-lingo clients.

Other agents at UTA’s alternative department include Hayden Meyer, Lee Horvitz, Karrie Wolfe and Jonathan Swaden.

UTA says the staff additions reflect the growth of the alternative division, which has packaged or reps exec producers on skeins including “Wife Swap,” “Supernanny,” “The Contender,” “Surreal Life” and “Average Joe.”

Decision to hire Barnett to focus on business affairs was particularly driven by the agency’s recent volume of business, Coelen said.

“We wanted someone who could come in here and be dedicated to our department,” he said. “There are so few people who are experienced in this area, and she’s seen the business from a couple of different angles.”

Coelen said Barnett’s experience in doing licensing deals for Fremantle’s “American Idol” will also benefit the agency’s clients. “She’s a great person to advise and guide our clients on the growth of their businesses,” he said.

Suddleson’s work as an exec at MTV and Fox Sports Net played a role in the decision to recruit him to UTA. “He’s able to bring that buyer’s experience to us,” Coelen said.

Indeed, Suddleson will work closely with recently signed UTA clients Rick Hurvitz and Bruce Beresford-Redman of MTV’s “Pimp My Ride.”

As for Hansen, tenpercenter’s representation of Hilton has had him working closely with the alternative department over the past two years.

“Brett started to work more with our department, and he felt this was where a big part of the business is going,” Coelen said, noting that unscripted TV “is what he watches, what he gets into.”

Hansen is expected to work with a broad range of UTA alt clients, including Michael Davies, Craig Armstrong (“Extreme Makeover: Wedding Edition”) and Greg Johnston, along with companies such as RDF and Ricochet.

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