Hollywood’s hot in-topic of conversation hasn’t been about Paris Hilton or Lindsay Lohan for the past week but it’s about the future of Ed Limato — and about the agency biz as a whole.
Sure, the list of possible contenders for Limato has included the William Morris Agency, CAA and Endeavor. But how about somebody else? Like TalentWorks? "TalentWorks!?" That’s President Harrry Gold’s successful (25 years) tenpercentery. Gold originally called me to accentuate the positive of the importance of the mid-size agency. "We keep re-designing ourselves, We keep staying relevant with the challenges. We are more necessary than ever. We encourage youngsters coming out of festivals. We go after established stars and go after work for them. We don’t just sit there and wait," he said on his cell phone as he was entering the office of Glenn Maynard, the head of CBS’ reality show division.
Gold was pitching a new show. He’d just made the deal for client William Shatner to host a new talk show on the Biogaphy Channel as reported in today’s Daily Variety. Gold represents Shatner in "Boston Legal" as well as on commercials — "the ones you don’t even know about because they’re not even seen in the U.S.," he reminded.
At the HRTS lunch, Gold said the word was that 50% of television is in reality shows — and he should know. His client David Hasselhoff hosts "America’s Got Talent," Scott Baio, "45 and Still Single," Brett Butler, "Moochers," and upcoming talk shows for clients Joan Rivers, Ed McMahon and Rick Dees. And in the young (18-30) division, he gets talent seeded in series pilots. "The big money in features doesn’t seem to be there any more. They’ll pay big money for one big star — and then it’s hard to get money after them. There’s no middle class."
Of course, Gold knows the disappointments in the biz — like representing a very young Leonardo DiCaprio in "This Boy’s Lfe" and "Whatever Happened to Gilbert Grape" — only to see him signed by the big three. Gold describes his place as "having one foot in the small agency business and one foot in the large. And to be survivors, our existence is dependant on how well we move with the market place. We must move with the times."
And where does he believe Ed Limato should move? "He should do his own thing — instead of working for anyone else."