Publisher taps CAA agent DeCoste

Judith Regan, the brash Gotham publishing exec who recently relocated to L.A., is trying to make her mark in Hollywood.

She has enlisted CAA agent Elena DeCoste to handle TV sales, with a mandate to take properties from the Regan list and pitch them to broadcast and cable nets.

Regan has already set up Stephanie Klein’s “Straight Up and Dirty,” the escapades of a newly single thirtysomething, for pilot development at NBC. House will publish the book next month.

DeCoste also will shop some of Regan’s more commercial nonfiction for development as reality series.

And DeCoste will rep Regan herself in some of the impresario’s own TV productions. Regan, through her company’s Regan Media shingle, served as co-producer on A&E skein “Growing Up Gotti” as part of her publishing relationship with Victoria Gotti.

Regan officially moved her quasi-autonomous imprint of HarperCollins to its Century City offices earlier this month. After a brief reinvention as Regan Media, she has since renamed the company Regan and hired local staffers including publicist Suzanne Wickham.

With the DeCoste hiring, Regan basically is taking the role of the agent and moving it inhouse. While book units like Random House and HarperCollins have staffers combing lists on behalf of a particular Hollywood partner, Regan is going a step further: She wants the publisher to shop books all around the entertainment biz.

Insiders say Regan also will hire a film staffer to peddle titles to studios — possibly within the next few weeks — though the theatrical biz’s existing network of independent scouts could make that a trickier proposition.

Regan has a reputation for cranking out bestsellers almost as impressively as she cranks out outrageous soundbites, though the last year has been quieter on the bestseller front.

Regan is also soon to receive the ultimate slap — or compliment: She’s the subject of a reportedly vicious, “Devil Wears Prada”-style roman a clef. “Because She Can,” the semi-novelistic account of a former staffer, is scheduled for release next winter.

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