In the first of several big changes at the production company, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment senior VP Michael Rosenfeld is leaving next month to rejoin CAA, the agency his father helped create.
Rosenfeld, one of the top TV development and production execs at Brillstein-Grey, departs just weeks before the company is expected to settle out of its pact with Universal and seal a new deal with another company, most likely Sony.
Negotiations to restructure the deal with Universal, which owns half of Brillstein-Grey, have been ongoing for about a year, which has slowed some of BGE’s TV development plans.
Kevin Reilly, exec VP of TV at Brillstein-Grey, also has explored other options, but is now leaning toward remaining at the company, where he could receive a promotion and new duties.
Rosenfeld has a long legacy with CAA, and will return April 5 as a senior packaging agent. He began his career in the CAA mailroom in 1984 and spent 11 years there, rising to become a top TV literary and packaging agent. Not only did his father, Mike Rosenfeld, co-found the agency, but his wife, Sonya Rosenfeld, is now the head of the CAA’s TV lit department.
“I’m very excited about returning to CAA,” Rosenfeld told Daily Variety. “I grew up at CAA. When I was 14 years old, my father took all the money I had in my bank account and put it into CAA.”
Rosenfeld still has 2-1/2 years on his BGE contract, but the split was amicable. Rosenfeld, in fact, will represent Brillstein-Grey at CAA.
“Michael is a valued friend, and has made an enormous contribution as an agent and an employee,” said Brad Grey, owner of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment.
“I learned a lot from Brad Grey, and I look forward to representing Brillstein-Grey and putting shows on the air for them,” Rosenfeld said.
One of Rosenfeld’s former CAA clients, Paul Simms, the creator of “NewsRadio,” already has agreed to re-sign with CAA now that Rosenfeld is returning.
“I’ve gone without an agent for three-and-a-half years waiting for Michael to return, and I’m glad he finally came to his senses,” Simms said.
Rosenfeld first joined BGE in 1995 after a stint as senior VP of ABC Entertainment, where he helped negotiate the David E. Kelley series deal. In addition to TV development at Brillstein-Grey, which produces shows like “Just Shoot Me” and “The Sopranos,” Rosenfeld managed Brillstein-Grey clients such as Martin Short, Carol Leifer and Jim Rome.
“Mike is an incredibly creative thinker with extensive and deep-rooted relationships which cross into all areas of the entertainment world,” said Buena Vista TV Prods. chairman Lloyd Braun, who formerly worked as president of Brillstein-Grey Entertainment.
“He understands the needs of talent and the creative process,” Braun said. “He was and will continue to be a real force in the agency world.”
List of priors
During his tenure at CAA, Rosenfeld repped such clients as Bill Maher, Christopher Kesyer, Howard Gordon, Jonathan Katz, Tim Doyle and Kevin Abbott. He sold and packaged such series as “NewsRadio,” “Party of Five,” “My So-Called Life” and “Politically Incorrect.”
“I love Mike,” said Lee Gabler, co-chairman of CAA and head of the TV department. “He left here in the classiest way. He was instrumental in urging clients to remain here. He’s a decent and hard-working professional, and he has a lot of depth of character and a sense of responsibility, and that’s why he’s here again.”