The most highly anticipated chat in Hollywood — between longtime bitter rivals and one-time CAA partners Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer — has been postponed for three weeks.
Word came Thursday afternoon that the Live Talks Los Angeles event at the DGA theater on Sept. 7 has been moved to Sept. 29 because Ovitz is said to still be recovering from back surgery.
Many industry insiders who have loved sharing salacious details from author James Andrew Miller’s new book, “Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency,” have been primed for what would have been the first public meeting between the book’s two main subjects. Miller had been scheduled to moderate a panel discussion with the duo.
“All tickets for Sept 7th will be honored for September 29th,” Live Talks wrote to guests. “Should you not be able to make the event the on the rescheduled date, we are happy to provide a refund, as long as you notify us by Friday, September 9th.”
Meyer declined to comment through a spokesperson at Universal. Ovitz could not be reached.
“Powerhouse” has been the talk of Hollywood. The tell-(almost)-all book about the creation and inner-workings of the world’s most prominent talent agency, with its tales of dirty dealing and Master of the Universe antics by CAA’s founders, has sold out at many Westside bookstores. The 700-page oral history is so in-demand that sources say Hollywood types have been emailing each other PDF versions, so as not to fall behind their peers in devouring all the revelations and back-stabbing.
Ovitz and Meyer started CAA as close associates, after fleeing the old William Morris Agency. But as Ovitz came to amass more and more power at CAA, Meyer and other partners became alienated from him. Meyer reportedly felt Ovitz hogged the super-agency’s power and glory. Ovitz believed Meyer was not always a team player. In the book, Meyer comes across as the more compassionate and beloved businessman and agent, while Ovitz is depicted as a craven opportunist. One person who knows both men said they have only been together at occasional public events, such as a memorial service for a former colleague.
The public face-off between the two men set for Wednesday on stage at the Director’s Guild was so hotly anticipated that host Live Talks Los Angeles said it sold out immediately. The company has been fielding endless requests for more seats, at $30 and $60 a pop, but none are left.
The event, initially scheduled to take place at the WGA, sold out immediately and was forced to move to a larger venue (the DGA’s capacity is 600 vs. 475 at the WGA).
Asked before the postponement if demand for the 90-minute event had been heavy, Live Talks CEO Ted Habte-Gabr responded via email: “You kidding? Have had calls from every agency, studio. Had to upgrade our server to our website last week….I get calls/emails every day.”
“Unlike other sold out shows with wait lists, where they figure ‘Oh well, I should have got them early’ with this event, it was a ticket folks HAD to have,” said Habte-Gabr. “I quote from an email I got which best says it: ‘I am asking if there is anyway I can get 2 tickets to see this legendary talk. I need to go to this. This is my Ali vs Frazier, Frost vs Nixon, and Woodstock rolled into one.’ ”
No matter how great the appeals, though, Habte-Gabr said there simply was no more room.