Benny Medina, manager of Sean “Puffy” Combs, is finalizing a deal to become prexy of the rapper/producer’s Bad Boy Entertainment, according to sources.
Medina’s role will be to focus on enlarging the outfit’s film and TV interests. Bad Boy chief financial officer Jef Burroughs will ascend to exec veep and G.M. of the restructured company and focus on recorded music.
The deal to bring the highly experienced Medina into the nearly $200 million-a-year Bad Boy is being handled by a handful of dealmakers and has yet to be rubber-stamped by execs at Arista Records — through which Bad Boy has its label venture — and chieftains at BMG Entertainment, Arista’s parent.
Better Arista deal
Combs is also in the process of getting his Arista deal improved slightly, according to sources, as part of a reward for the en-trepreneur’s successful and unmatched track record in the urban/hip-hop marketplace.
Medina, who recently severed partnership ties with James Lassiter in the duo’s Handprint Entertainment banner — a potent management operation that repped Combs, Kenneth (Babyface) Edmonds, Vanessa Williams, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith — has already signed on as producer of Combs’ adaptation of the George Pelecanos novel “King Suckerman.”
Lassiter has made a similar transition. The exec is now running with Overbrook Ent., actor/comedian Smith’s company which is set up at Universal and has a growing production slate. He also manages Smith and Pinkett.
Combs and Medina have set up “King Suckerman” through Miramax’s Dimension Films banner and will produce it under Comb’s Bad Boy Films arm.
The pic will mark Comb’s first developed project and kick off a slate of pics that he will either produce or star in — or both. The film arm has yet to align with a studio and can finance some projects internally.
Combs’ “No Way Out” album, his bow as an artist in 1996, has topped 7 million units and his tribute single “I’ll Be Missing You,” which paid homage to the late Notorious B.I.G., sold north of 3 million copies. Before going solo Combs produced a number of top-selling artists.
He recently produced a track on the Sony Music Soundtrax disc “Godzilla” on which he teams with ex-Led Zeppelin’s axeman Jimmy Page.
Medina, a former Warner Bros. Records exec who led the label’s black-music arm for several years and later entered into a first-look production pact with Warner Bros.’ studio and TV arm, also co-produced Smith’s NBC-TV series “Fresh Prince of Bel Air.”
When Medina signed on last month to co-produce pics with Combs, he told Daily Variety that the “long-term idea was to grow a TV and film operation that’s as revolutionary to those mediums as Combs’ record company has been to the recording industry.”