Hollywood Law Impact List
Firm: Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano
The practice: Del and Moonves aren’t related, but they might as well be. Del’s biggest client is CBS’ Leslie Moonves (aka Jon’s big brother).
That said, Del and Jon Moonves — who work out of their firm’s Santa Monica offices — have very different practices. Del is a one-man employment agency for TV titans, repping an eye-popping roster of top small-screen suits. In addition to the man he calls “LM,” Del also handles top L.A.-based execs at NBC (Kevin Reilly), Fox (Peter Liguori) and the CW (Dawn Ostroff). Other studio types who use “Ernie the attorney” include Sony bosses Steve Mosko, Jamie Erlicht and Zack Van Amburg and 20th chief Dana Walden.
The relationship with Leslie Moonves led Del to specialize in execs, he says. It “grew organically from Leslie Moonves’ first contract (with a production company housed at Columbia Television) and continues to grow from a very loyal client base,” Del says.
Some of Del’s exec base has morphed into production talent. Former Del-repped suits-turned-talent include Eric Tannenbaum, Sarah Timberman, Stu Bloomberg, Bob Greenblatt and David Janollari (Greenblatt is once again an exec, heading up Showtime’s entertainment division).
Jon Moonves, meanwhile, reps a mix of TV writers (Jack Orman of “ER” fame), producers (Vin di Bona) and actors (Leah Remini). He’s guided Marc Cherry’s career through hell (being robbed by his manager) and back (a new megabucks deal to continue on “Desperate Housewives” through 2011). He negotiated what may be the biggest deal ever for an actor, getting Ray Romano a reported $2.2 million per episode fee for “Everybody Loves Raymond.” And there’s no telling how much coin Jeff Foxworthy and Blue Collar Comedy Tour producers Parallel Entertainment will continue to bring in each year.
Despite his brother’s showbiz pedigree and some summertime exposure to Hollywood, Moonves originally practiced traditional law, working in Atlanta. He was offered a partnership in Georgia, “but I decided to go for my passion,” he says.
Not to be overlooked, co-founding partner Shaw reps some of the most powerful African-American talent in Hollywood, including 2006 Oscar winner Jamie Foxx. Her client roster also includes Laurence Fishburne and Yvette Lee Bowser.
POV: The Moonves brothers’ relationship grew a bit heated during the Romano renegotiation. At one point, Jon says, “Leslie called up our mother and said, jokingly, ‘Your son is an asshole.’ I think we both did a very good job of aggressively and passionately representing our side without it ever becoming personal.”