Production company changes name
The Grey has finally been washed out of the moniker.Brillstein-Grey Entertainment partners Jon Liebman and Cynthia Pett-Dante, who bought out the financial interests of owner Brad Grey when he left to run Paramount Pictures in 2005, have changed the company’s name to Brillstein Entertainment Partners. The name change adds another level of closure to Grey’s stewardship as a talent rep and producer. It comes shortly after the finale of “The Sopranos,” the HBO drama he exec produced with David Chase. Tapped in January 2005 to replace Sherry Lansing as Paramount Pictures chairman, Grey divested of ownership of Brillstein-Grey, a half-partnership in Plan B, and Brad Grey Television, in July of that year. Part of the reason for keeping his name in the logo was contractual, but Liebman and Pett-Dante also didn’t want a repeat of a previous debacle, the time that Grey responded to an influx of hip-sounding management companies like Management 360 and the Firm by changing the company’s name to Basic. “The clients boycotted, and we wound up switching back and having a bonfire with all the business cards and stationary,” Pett-Dante told Daily Variety. Liebman, who became CEO after Grey’s departure, said the experience guided them to stick with something close to the original moniker of the Brillstein Co., which founder Bernie Brillstein used when he opened his doors in 1969. “The new name represents the continuation of a stable nucleus, and a more collaborative and inclusive approach we’re taking as a company,” he said. The company has remained on a steady course since Grey’s departure, and has done a notable job of holding its formidable management roster together without major defections. Liebman and Pett-Dante steer a company of 60 employees, with founder Bernie Brillstein and longtime partners Marc Gurvitz and Sandy Wernick, along with Aleen Keshishian, who joined as partner from the Firm. Most of the managers are tenured players, though the company has added the likes of Joanne Colonna, David McIlvain and Missy Malkin. Brillstein Entertainment Partners continues to rep such clients as Brad Pitt and Plan B, Adam Sandler and Happy Madison Prods., Lorne Michaels and Broadway Video Entertainment, Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox and her Coquette Prods., Orlando Bloom, Kate Beckinsale, James Belushi, Brendan Fraser, Laura Linney, Bill Maher, Carlos Mencia, Paul Rudd, Natalie Portman, David Spade, Rob Lowe and Andy Garcia. Since it reps the film production companies of clients like Sandler and Pitt, the company gets involved in film producing at the behest of clients only. It is more aggressive in the TV arena, with a deal at Touchstone. Brillstein Entertainment Partners’ TV wing, headed by company veteran Peter Traugott, recently got a fall pickup at ABC for the Christina Applegate starrer “Samantha Be Good” (formerly “Sam I Am”), giving it four on-air series with ABC’s “According to Jim,” Comedy Central’s “The Showbiz Show with David Spade,” and HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher.”
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