Michael Hobel, chair, Entertainment & Media Practice, Katten Muchin Rosenman

Dealmakers Impact Report 2011: Lawyers

That Hobel has served as counsel for companies as diverse as Microsoft, FremantleMedia and Funny or Die in the same year is a testament to the entertainment lawyer’s ability to adapt to a rapidly changing industry.

“On some level the law is the law, and contract principles apply across all different kinds of deals,” says Hobel. “But there are new rules and you have to be creative in terms of making them work for your client.”

An expert in complex media transactions, Hobel represents FremantleMedia in major matters regarding “American Idol” and “The X Factor,” ranging from network deals to product integration, digital media and theme park deals.

At Funny or Die he oversees a full range of legal services — from production deals of short-form Web content to pacts with TV and cable.

“They’re different (clients) and you bring different things to the table,” says Hobel, “but if you do your job right, you’re adding value in each situation.”

KEY DEALS: Reps Microsoft in the licensing of movies and TV programming for the Xbox Live platform.

Represented Media Rights Capital in negotiations with Netflix for the acquisition of latter’s first major original production, political thriller “House of Cards,” to be produced by David Fincher.

Repped AMC Networks in its deal to license streaming content to Netflix.

SPARE TIME: Family, skiing, biking.

TOP CAUSE: Alzheimer’s Assn., Harvard College Fund

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