Tom K. Ara
Partner, Co-Chair, Entertainment Finance & Transactions, DLA Piper
In a landscape-altering deal, Ara represented Disney on a key aspect of its $71.3 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets. The Century City-based attorney also advised South Korea’s CJ Entertainment; esports startup Vindex; and Storybots children’s brand in its Netflix sale. Ara reps City National Bank and its owner Royal Bank of Canada, as well as SunTrust, on various film/television project and corporate loans. Ara says, historically, transformative Hollywood change occurs in single chunks, but the digital revolution is a broad confluence, including the arrival of Silicon Valley and giant startups. “Frankly, we’ve haven’t previously seen change on this scale in our industry,” he says.
President, Settebello Entertainment
Ashley’s Settebello Entertainment manages emerging artists working in every platform of entertainment and media, and in less than two years has closed more than 600 deals in digital, film, TV, books, touring, endorsements and consumer products. The company has struck deals with Netflix, Lakeshore, Facebook Watch, Hulu and iTunes, with a focus on the youth sector, first-time storytellers, and the biggest market prize of all, China. “Over the past year and a half, I’ve seen substantial doors open for my clients overseas, specifically in China, presenting artists with an opportunity to open a more-or-less similar but separate business overseas,” says Ashley.
Partner, DLA Piper
Beyzaee is at the epicenter of Hollywood business manager consolidation. He repped sellers David Weise & Associates, and Altman Greenfield & Selvaggi. Further, the Los Angeles-based attorney advised buyer NKSFB for absorbing another business management firm. Other clients include talent agency APA, Lego for media, the production company behind “South Park,” and law firms tapping his tax and corporate expertise. In corporate acquisitions, Beyzaee says the buyers are not always attracted by IP or hard assets. Sometimes the primary motivation is to nab human capital because “having people who can put together a deal or project is invaluable,” he says.
Daniel H. Black
Vice Chair, Global Entertainment & Media Practice, Greenberg Traurig
Black reps Caesars Entertainment for its gaming-content deal with Turner Sports/Bleacher Sports; live-event hologram company Base Entertainment; toy company Spin Master; Fremantle’s Original Prods., including three reality TV series pickups; and Blackbird Presents, navigating thorny music-rights issues for documentaries and live events. The Los Angeles-based attorney also negotiated more than $100 million in executive employment agreements in the past year. Black sees cross-border deals getting trickier as, for instance, other countries aim to build local champions that complicate Hollywood relations. He sees “the need to anticipate what the world will look like in the years ahead” in crafting today’s transactions.
Partner, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano
Bobb struck a seven-figure deal for multihyphenate Janet Mock at Netflix, making her the first transgender creator to sign with a leading media company. “I’m excited about Janet’s overall deal at Netflix because she’s a unique and important voice for the culture and now has a platform to amplify that voice,” Bobb says. He also helped to negotiate Ava DuVernay’s $100 million overall TV pact with Warner Bros., as well as directing their upcoming “New Gods,” and made deals for her to direct the HBO Max pilot “DMZ.” He also secured an eight-figure deal at Amazon for screenwriter-producer-actor Lena Waithe.
Joseph Calabrese, Nancy Bruington, Ken Deutsch, Robert Haymer, Rick Offsay, Jonathan West
Joseph Calabrese, Global Chair — Entertainment, Sports & Media Practice
Nancy Bruington, Ken Deutsch, Robert Haymer, Rick Offsay. Jonathan West; Partners, Latham & Watkins
Their clients include distributor A24 for financings and Apple film licensing; Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. including its eight-year Golden Globes TV deal; Skydance Media for a China financing and other transactions; and Warner Bros. Entertainment for various transactions. For TV, clients include Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios acquiring TV stations; and Sinclair Broadcast Media for sports-channel transactions. The six attorneys are based in Century City. Calabrese works entertainment, sports and media. Haymer advises on M&A and joint ventures. Deutsch reps independent producers and their strategic partnerships. Bruington works financing including credit facilities. Offsay handles distribution, output and licensing agreements. West advises creative talent and their companies in IP transactions. With direct-to-consumer streaming exploding, Calabrese says “the next 12 months will be the most transformative and interesting period for media since the invention of TV.” As content booms, Haymer notes that talent angles for creative freedom and other perks. “There are enormous financial and creative opportunities for content makers and owners,” he says.
Chair, Television Practice, Loeb & Loeb
As part of his work for longtime client Oprah Winfrey and her production company Harpo, New York-based Chamlin consulted on various projects involving her multiyear partnership with Apple that he closed last year, including docuseries about mental health (featuring the U.K.’s Prince Harry) and harassment of women in the workplace. He also negotiated a new partnership between Oprah’s Book Club and Apple Books. Other clients include Glenn Close, Andy Cohen, Mike Rowe, Chip and Joanna Gaines, and Terri, Bindi and Robert Irwin (“Crikey! It’s the Irwins”). “We feel very much a part of our creative clients’ universe and think about things as owners, as opposed to simply counselors,” he says.
Founding Partner, Chatham Law Group
Chatham handles legal affairs for baby products line Hello Bello, whose owners include married actors Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. He reps Dr. Phil McGraw and his son Jay’s Stage 29 Prods. Chatham negotiated renewals of CBS series “Bull,” talk show “Dr. Phil” and the “Phil in the Blanks” podcast. He also reps the British rescuer suing Elon Musk for defamation. The Los Angeles-based attorney works both transactions and litigation. Chatham finds talent contracts are now piled as high on his desk as mainstream Hollywood deals. “There has never been a better time for Hollywood talent to collaborate with big consumer businesses,” he says.
Founder, CEO, Creative Wealth Media
Cloth’s recent megadeals with Warner Bros. and MGM represent $750 million in financing for film and television, and he’s also set up major projects with Universal, Sony, Netflix, Apple, Lionsgate, A24, eOne, and Marvel mogul Kevin Feige, as well as a major cross-platform partnership with production-finance entity Bron, yielding projects such as “The Mule” and “Joker,” as well as the upcoming “Those Who Wish Me Dead,” “The Way Back” and “Superintelligence.” The biggest recent trend Cloth says he’s seeing is “not all films getting made these days are receiving theatrical distribution, which is changing the way people perceive the industry.”
Lindsay Conner and Sophia Yen
Lindsay Conner, Partner and Leader, Manatt Entertainment
Sophia Yen, Partner, Manatt Entertainment; Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Conner and Yen have put into place significant financing and development-production deals with Perfect World Pictures, East West Bank, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Immersive Management Holdings and Infore Capital Management Co., with projects stretching across film, television and virtual reality. “Entertainment companies in China are still doing substantial business in Hollywood, so that’s remained a big focus for us,” Conner says. “Private equity money continues to flow into numerous premium outlets, and streaming content has become the order of the day.”
Robert Darwell, Robb Klein, Linda Michaelson
Robert Darwell, Partner
Robb Klein, Linda Michaelson, Partners, Co-Leaders (with David Sands) of the Entertainment and Digital Media Practice, Sheppard Mullin
Long focused on the global nature of entertainment media, these attorneys have a large number of clients (companies, producers distributors and filmmakers) that are either based abroad or regularly doing business there. As outside counsel to Amazon Studios, Darwell handled a multitude of film and TV transactions encompassing scripted, unscripted and sports, including closing overall deals with Phoebe Waller-Bridge (“Fleabag”) and Scooter Braun, and setting up local-language productions around the world. Klein has clients that include Starlings Entertainment (investor in “Rocketman”) and Komixx Entertainment, which closed a deal for a sequel to Netflix film “The Kissing Booth.” Michaelson repped Lionsgate in its joint venture with Point Grey Pictures in a multiplatform content deal, as well as the group that purchased Abrams Artists Agency. Other clients include digital giants Spotify, Twitch, Snapchat, Oculus and Tinder. “Business models change on a regular basis,” says Klein. “If you do a deal with Netflix today, I guarantee it will not be the same as the one you did with them last year.”
Ariel J. Deckelbaum and Michael Vogel
Ariel J. Deckelbaum, Deputy Chair, Corporate Dept.
Michael Vogel, Partner, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison
Deckelbaum and Vogel are advising the CBS board’s special committee on merging with Viacom. Another joint client of the duo is Imagine Entertainment. Deckelbaum handles “South Park” producer Park County Television Studio, cable TV, content and sports business owners and investors. Vogel’s clients include investors in regional sports networks, and media/entertainment investors and operating companies. Deckelbaum sees “a shift from the pipe to the device” in the showbiz landscape. “Anyone who wants to be in the delivery business, also needs to be in the content business” for “direct-to-consumer streaming,” Vogel says.
Sandra Dewey, Patrick Kelly, Michael Quigley
Sandra Dewey, President, Business Operations and Productions
Patrick Kelly, EVP, Business Affairs
Michael Quigley, EVP, Content Acquisitions; HBO Max, TNT, TBS & truTV
The trio of studio vets have been busy filling the content pipeline for WarnerMedia’s streaming service HBO Max, which will launch in May, while still managing all business affairs and content acquisitions for TNT, TBS and truTV. Since March, Dewey and Kelly have negotiated deals for 150-plus projects for HBO Max including past and future episodes of “Sesame Street” and series from big-name talent such as Ridley Scott (“Raised by Wolves”), Greg Berlanti (“Green Lantern”), Mindy Kaling (“College Girls”), Elizabeth Banks (“DC Super Hero High”), Issa Rae (“Rap Sh*t”) and Ellen DeGeneres. Quigley has done his part by securing big-dollar shows such as “Friends,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “South Park.” They’re also bringing features to the platform developed in-house at Warner Bros. Pictures and New Line, as well outside projects such as Steven Soderbergh’s “Let Them All Talk.” “We’re in a fast-changing universe right now and we want to operate with safe, smart business models, but we also want to have the agility to do things that are new and different and be responsive quickly,” Dewey says.
Thomas Dey, Richard Gray, Hasham Khan
Thomas Dey, Founder, President, CEO
Richard Gray, Managing Director
Hasham Khan, Director; ACF Investment Bank
Led by 29-year vet Dey, the team at ACF (About Corporate Finance) was at the center of a number of big deals in the reality programming space in the past year, including the recent Bear Grylls sale to Banijay (value undisclosed), which was led by Dey and Khan. The pact sees Bear Grylls and longtime producing partner Delbert Shoopman create a production studio for non-scripted and scripted adventure content — the Natural Studios — across all platforms. ACF also advised Plimsoll Prods. (NatGeo’s “Hostile Planet”) on a multimillion-dollar investment from private equity firm LDC that gave the company a $100 million valuation, and advised New York-based production company Blackfin and its founder and CEO Geno McDermott on the company’s sale to eOne in a deal that made McDermott eOne’s president of U.S. alternative programming. “These streamers that are much more streamlined than their studio or network counterparts,” Dey says. “Before, a lot of [the money] would be absorbed by the network. Now, much more of it lands in the pockets of the producers, the writers and the on-screen talent.”
Walter Driver, Javier Ferreira, Tim O’Brien
Walter Driver and Javier Ferreira, Co-CEOs
Tim O’Brien, Chief Revenue Officer; Scopely
Headed by ex-O Negative Media CEO Driver and former Disney Interactive and Electronic Arts exec Ferreira, the mobile games publisher has demonstrated the power of combining handheld gaming and marquee IP, releasing games based on “Star Trek,” “The Walking Dead” and “Wheel of Fortune.” In October, it closed a $200 million Series D financing round from institutional investors, giving the company a $1.7 billion valuation — more than double what it was 18 months prior. The company has raised $458 million to date from an array of investors including Kobe Bryant, Jimmy Iovine, Peter Chernin and Jim Gianopulos. Former Disney Interactive biz development exec O’Brien came aboard in 2014 to drive all dealmaking across the business. With mobile, “you’ve got all these people who were not gamers before who are now gamers,” he says. “You can pick up your phone and play a deep, immersive game like ‘Star Trek’ for two hours or take a couple of spins on Yahtzee and get on the bus.”
David C. Eisman
Partner, Head of Entertainment Group, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom
Eisman repped payroll/production software Entertainment Partners, which owns Central Casting, when it sold to private-equity TPG; United Talent Agency purchase of a significant Klutch Sports stake, acquisition of influencer agency DBA and joint venture with Valence Media; and private equity’s Carlyle Group for its big investment in Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings. Eisman also advised Mythos Studios, Project X Entertainment and Quixote Studios for various capital raisings. The Los Angeles-based attorney believes film/TV libraries are particularly valuable if possessing remake/sequel/episodic TV rights amid Hollywood’s TV content boom.
Chair, Entertainment and Media Group + Chair, West Coast Business Transactions Group, Venable
Epstein’s clients range from startups to well-established businesses in media, entertainment and technology. Many top showbiz law firms, talent agencies and business managers use Epstein’s team to provide specialty legal services, with clients including Bento Box Entertainment, Picturestart, Gary Barber and Spyglass Media Group, Point Grey Pictures and Untitled Entertainment. The rise of multiple streaming options has increased business for Epstein, who says, “the disruption caused by the streamers is touching nearly every facet of my law practice, ranging from the launch of new indie studios and OTT platforms to assisting preeminent showrunners on their monster overall deals.”
Matthew Erramouspe, Bruce Tobey, Amy Siegel, Silvia Vannini, Sean Monroe
Matthew Erramouspe and Bruce Tobey, Co-Chairs, Entertainment, Sports, & Media Corporate Practice
Amy Siegel, Silvia Vannini, Sean Monroe; Partners, Entertainment, Sports, & Media Corporate Practice, O’Melveny & Myers
The entertainment team at the 134-year-old law firm has been a guiding hand in the formation of some of film and TV’s most forward-looking companies, including Participant Media, STX and Wiip, and it continued on that innovative path in 2019. O’Melveny repped CBS Corp. in its partnership with PatMat Prods., a new multiplatform independent production company headed by former CBS Entertainment chairperson Nina Tassler and producer Denise DiNovi. It also served as lead counsel to Univision in its cross-border strategic alliance with Mexico’s Grupo Televisa that created the multi-platform sports media brand TUDN and repped Bron Studios in its $100 million multipicture co-financing deal with MGM and led the launch of Bron Ventures, the equity investment division of Bron Media Corp. “A new player like Apple can come in and the way it wants to do business can conflict with how the studio, production company or bank wants to do it,” Monroe says. “It’s very important to have an understanding of the business so you can figure out how you need to make the deal work.”
Rob Freeman and Frank Saviano
New York-based Freeman and Saviano are two of the top legal players in the sports media field. Freeman repped longtime client Discovery Communications in its acquisition of Golf Digest from Conde Nast and its $2 billion-plus strategic alliance with the PGA Tour to launch the streaming service GolfTV. Saviano handled Blackstone Tactical Opportunities’ investment in the $3.47 billion acquisition of Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network from the Walt Disney Co. It was one of several investors. “These days, we’re often doing first-of-kind type deals where the parties need to live together and work together going forward, so you need solutions to problems that haven’t been adjusted for,” Freeman says.
Partner, Head of Entertainment Group, Greenberg Glusker
It’s been a busy year for Galsor, who closed Chris Hemsworth’s “Thor: Love and Thunder” contract; handled the sale of Cannes-package “Down Under Cover” to Paramount, starring Hemsworth and Tiffany Haddish with the Russo brothers (“Avengers: Endgame”) producing; and negotiated Hemsworth’s deal with Netflix for a Hulk Hogan biopic from director Todd Phillips (“Joker”). It’s the challenge of figuring out how to approach each transaction that keeps him excited, he says. Galsor adds he loves “finding an ingenious way to make an un-makeable deal.” He also recently closed a deal with AMC and Universal for three “The Walking Dead” features.
Co-founder, CEO, FuboTV
In the past year, the live TV streaming service led by Gandler corralled carriage deals with Discovery and Viacom; launched in Spain including with Movistar Series; introduced its own channels such as Fubo Sports Network; and established a FanDuel partnership. Under the New York-based executive, FuboTV attracted more than $250 million in funding and carries 43 of the top 50 cable networks. While pundits wax enthusiastic about on-demand, Gandler says big linear-TV channel bundle will remain a fixture because of consumer convenience, simplicity and value, and wide total circulation given to carried channels. “There is a significant value in aggregating content,” he says.
Aaron L. Gilbert
Chairman, CEO, Bron Studios
Gilbert has turned Bron into one of the hottest financing and production entities in the industry, executive producing smash-hit “Joker” as part of a $100 million co-financing pact with Warner Bros., while forming a $100-plus million, multipicture co-financing deal with MGM, with films that include recent animated hit “The Addams Family” and upcoming franchise reboots “Candyman” and “Robocop.” “We continue to develop, produce, and to invest in important and diverse stories driven by strong creative voices for both film and television,” says Gilbert. “Bron has worked hard to build a business that has one foot firmly in the studio world and the other firmly in the independent world.”
Justin Hamill, Lisbeth Savill, Lex Kuo
Justin Hamill and Lisbeth Savill, Partners
Lex Kuo, Counsel; Latham & Watkins
The trio’s clients include Endeavor, which sold an advertising-agency unit; Raine Group in its private equity investments; Silver Lake in sale of Cast & Crew Entertainment; and Tencent Holdings in sports rights and IP transactions. Other clients are CBS, Blumhouse Prods., Cohen Media, movie producer Eon Prods., Facebook, Miramax, MGM, Raine Group, Skydance Media and TikTok/ByteDance. Hamill works in New York with focus on M&A; Savill is based in London handling entertainment-sports-media, and Kuo works entertainment-sports-media from Shanghai. Savill says private equity investors are developing deep savvy in entertainment-sports-media economics, as their portfolios grow in the sector. “We find them actively looking for opportunities outside the United States,” she says. Looking at consumer behavior, Hamill sees young adults are willing to splurge for personal experiences in sports, music events and esports, which will drive “across strategic and financial investors” in their dealmaking.
Chief Strategy Officer, Vix
Hull is the non-Latino behind Pongalo, a popular Spanish-language streaming service with more than 14,000 hours of film and TV content, available in the U.S. and more than a dozen other countries. In August, the Texas native sold the company to Discovery-backed Vix in an eight-figure stock and cash deal. Today, he helps oversee Pongalo and sister streaming platforms Moovimex and Vix TV for Vix, leveraging its large social-media presence to further build out their audiences. “We make about a movie a year, an original, and it’s really good for bringing people in the door, but what keeps them there are the episodic catalog shows,” Hull says.
Carolyn Hunt, Jason Karlov, Rebekah Prince, Amanda Taber, Bryan Thompson, Steve Weizenecker, Scott Witlin
Carolyn Hunt, Film, Television & Digital Media
Jason Karlov, Music & Live Events
Rebekah Prince, Sports & Entertainment, Corporate Transactions
Amanda Taber, Music & Live Events
Bryan Thompson, Television, Digital Media & Financing
Steve Weizenecker, Production Incentives, Film, Television & Video Games
Scott Witlin, Union & Guild Agreements; Barnes & Thornburg
The roots of Indianapolis-headquartered law firm Barnes & Thornburg can be traced back to 1926, but it didn’t launch its Century City-based entertainment practice until 2011. Today, it boasts an impressive client roster that includes iconic musicians (Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Michael Bolton, T Bone Burnett), sports titans (Russell Westbrook, Kobe Bryant, Top Rank Boxing, NFL/NFL Networks), top production companies (Ingenious Media, Bento Box Entertainment) and media giants (Viacom Intl., HBO, MGM Studios). Deal highlights include Karlov negotiating Grateful Dead Music’s move from UPG to Warner Chappell, effective next year. It will unite the band’s publishing and recordings under the Warner Bros. corporate umbrella. The firm’s entertainment team also includes Weizenecker, an expert on the ins and outs of film and TV tax credits based in Georgia, which has one of the richest production incentives in the country. “We get as large as the Olympic Games and the Super Bowl and as small as the local pumpkin patch in West Los Angeles,” Karlov says.
Steven E. Hurdle Jr.
Partner and Deputy Chair, Capital Markets and Corporate, Loeb & Loeb
A onetime computer science major who planned to be an engineer, Hurdle applies his analytical skills to complex business formations, fundraising, investments, purchases and sales. Recent deals include repping unscripted television producer Blackfin in its sale to Entertainment One and the launch of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Sister, a multiplatform production company co-headed by former 20th Century Fox chief Stacey Snider and London-based producer Jane Featherstone (HBO’s “Chernobyl”). “I try to keep in mind that selling a company is routine for me,” says Hurdle. “But, for my clients, it could be a once-in-a-lifetime event, so there’s usually more than a little psychology and reassurance involved.”
SVP, Head of Entertainment Syndications and Corporate Finance, City National Bank
In 2019, Irvin advised on nearly $700 million of deals, including Azoff Music Management’s $125 million acquisition of the Madison Square Garden Co.’s interest in Azoff MSG Entertainment. Other big deals include securing a credit facility of $85 million for a music distribution and monetization network and a $380 million credit facility for an investment fund. “The universe of consumers is expanding as we have more and more people streaming music, especially in developing markets,” says the exec. “People may stop going to the movies because a ticket costs 15 bucks, but they can still listen to the radio, so there’s always a steady stream of cash flow.”
Jim Jackoway and Alan Wertheimer
Jim Jackoway, Chairman
Alan Wertheimer, Partner; Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein
Jackoway and Wertheimer closed one of their biggest deals ever, an overall pact with J.J. Abrams and his production company Bad Robot with WarnerMedia, reportedly worth as much as $500 million. It will bring Abrams’ film, TV, gaming and digital content efforts together under the same roof. Jackoway’s roster also includes Seth MacFarlane, while Wertheimer’s boasts director Patty Jenkins, for whom he closed a $10 million overall TV deal with Netflix in September. “There clearly is a need for new programming and libraries, and in order to have that the streaming services are going to be chasing talent to create it, so [the market] will remain competitive,” Jackoway says.
Joel A. Katz
Founding Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media Practice, Greenberg Traurig
Katz repped Big Machine Records and owner Scott Borchetta selling to Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings/Carlyle Group; Australia’s Frontier Touring for its 50% sale to AEG; and Jason Owen’s Sandbox Entertainment renewing its personal-management venture with Ithaca. The Atlanta-based music attorney also negotiates executive employment contracts including Jon Platt taking the helm of Sony/ATV and extending John Esposito as honcho at Warner Music Nashville. Katz sees a wave of capital from private equity and others infusing the music industry, which he believes will invest in related businesses. Today’s music giants are “becoming entertainment companies instead of just record and publishing companies,” he says.
Partner, Morris Yorn Barnes Levine Krintzman Rubenstein Kohner & Gellman
Kohner repped “Stranger Things” creators Matt and Ross Duffer for their overall Netflix deal; and the Weitz brothers Chris (screenplay for Disney’s “The Lost Years of Merlin”) and Paul (writing-directing Sony Pictures’ “Fatherhood” starring Kevin Hart). The Century City-based attorney also advises Peter Chiarelli (writing “Crazy Rich Asians 2”), John Cho (Netflix’s “Cowboy Bebop”), Jonathan Krisel (directing Warners’ “Sesame Street”); NASCAR for its Netflix TV series, David Foster Wallace Literary Trust and author Jonathan Franzen. Kohner says underlying rights fees for TV/streaming series used to be modest, “but in the last year or so, the prices we have obtained have dramatically escalated.”
Tara Kole, Bianca Levin, Cheryl Snow
Partners; Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman
The trio are leading their 90-year-old law firm into the future, with the venerable company now boasting nearly 50% female partnership, and an eclectic roster of clients. Snow guided Jim Parsons’ deals for his Netflix series “Hollywood” and Netflix film “Boys in the Band,” as well as Steven Zaillian’s writing-directing-executive-producing deal on Showtime series “The Talented Mr. Ripley.” Kole worked on a first-look deal for director-producer David Leitch (“Hobbs & Shaw”) withUniversal, and helped steer the innovative and unprecedented deal for “The Weekly,” a news magazine show produced by the New York Times for FX and Hulu. “The shift to streaming has dramatically changed dealmaking,” Snow says. “The traditional ways to participate in a project’s success are disappearing so we’re constantly working on new ways for our clients to see the upside.” Levin continues to work with Dwayne Johnson, most recently on his Voss Water brand partnership, and upcoming Netflix feature “Red Notice.”
Steven Kram, Steven E. Blume, John M. Mass
Steven Kram, Co-Founder, President, CEO
Steven E. Blume, Co-founder, Chief Operations Officer, CFO
John M. Mass, Executive VP; Content Partners
Content Partners buys IP from owners — including individuals, financiers, estates and other entities — by purchasing their long-dated cash flows in feature films, television, and music, thus providing liquidity to institutional investors and royalty owners while assuming the future risks and rewards of that ownership. Since inception, the firm says it has bought out the backend points held by dozens of corporations and individuals and put together a portfolio of stakes that it manages as an investment property. Over the years CP has been involved in dozens of major deals totaling in the multiple billions. While the firm is tight-lipped about specifics, according to reports, in October it pacted to distribute its Revolution Studios/Morgan Creek Intl. content through Sony Pictures Television. As direct-to-consumer distribution upends Hollywood economics, Mass says the industry need to be “focused on more than just historical performance” in forecasting. That means weighing whether to license content exclusively to one streaming buyer or instead aggregate many non-exclusive deals. Kram, who co-founded Content Partners with Blume in 2005, worked for 17 years at William Morris Agency. Blume came from Brillstein-Grey Management, Solomon Intl. Enterprises, Largo Entertainment and Hemdale Film. Mass joined six years ago from WME and Bear Stearns.
Travis Kuda and Kristen Baldwin
Travis Kuda, Director, Business and Legal Affairs, Original Documentaries & Comedy
Kristen Baldwin, Director, Business and Legal Affairs, Original Studio Features; Netflix
Kuda oversees Netflix’s slate of comedy and documentary projects, and was part of the dealmaking team that closed Dave Chappelle’s latest special, “Sticks & Stones,” while Baldwin handles significant pacts across the Netflix film slate, including Michael Bay’s mega-budget “6 Underground,” Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods,” “The Old Guard” and “We Can Be Heroes.” “I love being a part of an innovative team that is pioneering a new path to create high-quality and diverse films for our growing audience of members from around the world,” Baldwin says.
Founding Partner, Kleinberg Lange Cuddy & Carlo
Widely respected in the entertainment industry for his representation of actors, writers, directors, producers, and executives, Lange recently worked with longtime client Billy Bush in his return to television as host and managing editor of a newly reformatted version of the hit syndicated entertainment show “Extra,” and negotiated Carrie-Anne Moss’ deal for the upcoming “The Matrix” sequel. “Many clients are also close friends, and working with them on their most challenging and career-changing events is what makes our efforts worthwhile,” Lange says. Other top clients include Kate Beckinsale, Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Prods., Gene Simmons, and Mark Hamill.
Ari Lanin and Benyamin Ross
Ari Lanin, Partner, Co-Chair, Private Equity Practice Group
Benyamin Ross, Partner, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
On the media and entertainment deal front, Lanin and Ross handle headline grabbing, industry changing transactions and represent top-flight media companies. They guided Jeffrey Katzenberg’s holding company WndrCo through its most significant and complex deals, including the formation of a $1 billion initial capital raise for the Quibi video shorts mobile service. “We helped WndrCo in its earliest capital formation stages, and watched as Jeffrey’s seed of an idea for a short-form premium content platform germinated into a billion-dollar fundraise,” Lanin says.
Alphonse Lordo and Sutton Fannon
Alphonse Lordo, Managing Director, Entertainment Industries Group
Sutton Fannon, Director, Entertainment Industries Group; Suntrust Robinson Humphrey
Lordo and Fannon watch over a $1.5 billion entertainment loan portfolio. The duo handled a $150 million-plus financing for Spyglass Media; a $150 million-plus for Kew Media; and a syndicated financing for Industrial Media. Other clients are Content Partners, Dean Devlin’s Electric Entertainment, Legendary Entertainment, Lionsgate, MGM and Revolution Studios. Sutton says mainstream Hollywood will adapt social media and interactive characteristics from video games where consumers “watch together, chat together and dictate the story together.”
Head of Business Affairs, Apple Worldwide Video
Matthys’ role encompasses both television and features. He’s struck some of the biggest streaming deals in 2019, forming a creative pact with Oprah Winfrey, locking the high-profile projects “The Morning Show,” “Dickinson,” “For All Mankind” and “See.” He secured an overall deal with Alfonso Cuaron for TV projects, which he calls “an incredible opportunity to partner with the visionary behind such creative masterpieces as ‘Gravity’ and ‘Roma’ to produce premium content for a truly global audience.” Matthys also helped to secure overall deals with Imagine (for documentaries), A24, Peanuts Worldwide and Sesame Workshop.
Executive VP, Business Affairs, Focus Features
Meyers, who just celebrated his 20th anniversary with Focus, oversees all worldwide dealmaking, including production, development, acquisitions, distribution and financing arrangements. In 2019, the busiest year ever for Focus, Meyers supervised 26 feature film deals, including the company’s highest-grossing domestic box-office hit, “Downton Abbey,” which has earned $95 million. “ ‘Downton Abbey’ was challenging to work on, partly because of the unusually large number of principal cast members, almost all of whom starred in the television series,” Meyers says. “I’m thrilled that the film not only came together, but has been one of our most successful releases in Focus’ history.”
Darrell D. Miller
Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Department, Fox Rothschild
Miller reps Courtney B. Vance, starring in NatGeo drama “Genius: Aretha” and developing fast-tracked “Heist 88” TV series for HBO; Teyonah Parris in Disney Plus’s “WandaVision” and Jordan Peele’s “Candyman” reboot; and Jessy Terrero making a YouTube docu on Latin singer Maluma and Terrero’s overall deal with Endemol Shine North America. Other clients include Chris Bridges, Reginald Hudlin and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“Dolemite Is My Name”). The Los Angeles-based attorney says Hollywood engages in growing arm-wrestling over talent exclusivity for TV series work. Talent pushes back amid the trend to fewer episodes ordered, which means less work per gig.
Schuyler “Sky” Moore
Partner, Greenberg Glusker
A self-confessed onetime juvenile delinquent, Moore is now a solid citizen trusted by big industry players with high-dollar deals. In the past year, he handled several hefty transactions for Cross Creek Pictures, including deals to co-finance the superhero film “Bloodshot” and finance and produce the crime thriller “The Tax Collector,” starring Shia LaBeouf, and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” He also advised Gravitas Ventures on its sale of Red Arrow Studios and handled Hemisphere Media Capital’s investment in Sony’s “Men in Black: International.” Moore says, “The feature length theatrical world is just a disaster, so you either go to the streamers or you give up.”
Peter Nichols and Jamie Feldman
Peter Nichols, Founding Partner
Jamie Feldman, Managing Partner; Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman Clark
Nichols never slowed in 2019, brokering multiple television deals for screenwriter Kevin Kwan (“Crazy Rich Asians”) with HBO and Jeffrey Katzenberg’s upcoming Quibi, and repping longtime client Billy Ray (screenwriter of “Richard Jewell”) in his deal to write and direct the upcoming James Comey biopic “Higher Loyalty” for CBS. Nichols says he’s excited about “a three-year, cutting-edge overall deal at Amazon Studios for David Weil, who wrote the pilot and is executive producer on 2020 release ‘Hunters,’ with Al Pacino.” And Feldman negotiated the Safdie Brothers’ deal with A24 for “Uncut Gems.”
Brett Paul and Adam Glick
Brett Paul, President
Adam Glick, EVP, Business Affairs; Warner Bros. Television and Warner Horizon Scripted Television
Paul is responsible for business and production matters concerning all scripted programming at the studio, including content for premium/pay and basic cable, on-demand/streaming platforms and the five broadcast networks — spearheading the group’s transition from primarily broadcasting into a 65% producer for the new media. Multiple deals he helped negotiate include September’s content agreement with Bad Robot Prods.’ J.J. Abrams and co-CEO Katie McGrath that establishes WarnerMedia as Bad Robot’s home for television, film, games and digital content; all of Chuck Lorre’s deals since 2000; and the recent 10-episode straight-to-series order for Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” at Netflix. “The industry is experiencing a cycle of consolidation and supply-chain compression, which increases the importance of our No. 1 priority: finding new and original ways to attract, support, nurture, and protect the best talent in the world,” Paul says. Glick serves as head business affairs negotiator on more than 50 programs, and was instrumental in the 10th season renewal of Showtime’s “Shameless,” as well as overall deals for “Westworld” EP Roberto Patino and Bryan Cranston’s Moonshot Entertainment.
Partner, Co-Chair of Communications and Media Industry Group; Managing Partner of Los Angeles Office Covington & Burling
In recent months, Polashuk represented Viacom in its $340 million acquisition of online streaming content provider Pluto TV, while she advised the Walt Disney Co. on its historic acquisition of 21st Century Fox, and the sale of Fox Regional Sports Networks to Sinclair, valued at over a combined $80 billion. “The Viacom deal reflects one of the many creative ways that top media companies are moving into the digital space, and it symbolizes the continued momentum of the media industry over the next few years,” Polashuk says. “My team is continually formulating new approaches to fulfill our clients’ business needs.”
Founder and CEO, Bruin Sports Capital
Pyne scored a $600 million investment to build out his operational holding company via corporate acquisitions and investments in sports/entertainment/media. The capital came from private equity investors the Jordan Co. — already a shareholder — and CVC Capital Partners. Founded in 2015, Bruin has joint venture On Location Experiences with the NFL, and works with other sports enterprises and consumer brands. “With media disruption on a global basis, viable long-term businesses will have to be equally adept at executing strategies around both old media and new media to thrive going forward,” says the Westchester County, N.Y.-based Pyne.
Founder & Managing Partner, Ramo Law
Ramo Law represents and advocates for female storytellers and producers, including Kristin Mann and Laura Smith’s Prowess Pictures, writer-director Vera Miao (“Two Sentence Horror Stories”), director Liza Mandelup (“Jawline”), writer-director Amber Sealey (“How to Cheat”), Boardwalk Pictures (“Chef’s Table”), Scout Prods. (“Queer Eye”), and Campfire (“Special”). “My focus is advising clients who are curators of content,” Ramo says. “I’ve gravitated my practice towards working with producers and production companies who have a definitive sense of what their content is.” The firm also provided production, financing, and representation services on films “Synchronic,” “Dads” “The Other Lamb,” “Clemency” and “Seberg.”
Adam Reiss and Carissa Coze
Adam Reiss, EVP, Associate General Counsel, Fox Corp.
Carissa Coze, Partner, Content, Media & Entertainment Practice; Co-Chair, Corporate Practice, Jenner & Block
Reiss and Coze work for two different companies, but they’ve collaborated on numerous media deals for Fox for more than 15 years. This year, the highlight was a first-of-its kind media and sports wagering partnership between Fox Sports and the Stars Group, creating Fox Sports Super 6, a free-to-play game, and Fox Bet, which gives customers in states with regulated betting the opportunity to place real money wagers on sporting events. They also repped Fox’s interests when Flutter Entertainment (parent company of FanDuel) acquired TSG in October. “We tried to future-proof [the deals] to create a mouse trap would continue to work as new states legalized sports betting,” Reiss says.
Vice Chairman, Global Entertainment & Media Practice, Greenberg Traurig
Advising $2 billion in music deals over the past year, Rosenbloum handled music-licensing renewals and strategic matters for Spotify, and Facebook’s global music licensing initiative. The Atlanta-based attorney’s clients also include Digital Media Assn., the Recording Academy, Fender instruments, iHeartRadio, the Grand Ole Opry, Microsoft, Samsung, Tesla, Tik Tok/ByteDance for music licensing and SoulCycle/Equinox for music. Rosenbloum says there’s a “really significant increase from new media platforms where music is part of the value equation such as fitness, social media and gaming.” Such new revenue streams are particularly welcome because growth in traditional recorded music is decelerating, he says.
Barbara M. Rubin
Partner and Chair of the Entertainment Department, Glaser Weil
Rubin repped Jeff Melvoin executive producing BBC America’s thriller TV series “Killing Eve”; longtime-client Martin Sheen in “Grace and Frankie”; Scripps TV station group for IP matters; and Anonymous Content. The Century City-based attorney handles Hollywood talent, small production companies, employment contracts and profit participation issues. Rubin feels that the Writers Guild/agents standoff puts attorneys in an “untenable position” because, under California statute, they’re only supposed to do legal work for gigs under the auspices of talent agents. Even absent the standoff, she adds that clients sometimes want legal services involving employment when between agent representation.
Managing Partner & Founder, Atwater Capital; Chairwoman, Leonine Studios
The onetime chief investment officer for Jay Z’s Roc Nation, Schlogel manages more than $160 million in media investments through her two-year-old company. This year, she partnered with another former employer, KKR & Co., to form German-based Leonine Studios, a consolidation of TeleMunchen Group, Wiedemann & Berg Film (“The Lives of Others,” “Dark”), RTL’s Universum and I&U. She also partnered with Channing Tatum’s production company Free Association, providing it with a $2 million revolving development fund from Atwater’s $30 million content fund launched in Cannes last year. “We’re a small firm and that allows us to attack things in a creative and nimble fashion,” she says.
David Shaheen, Reggie Lang, Jeff Bazoian, Darian Singer
David Shaheen, Head of Corporate Client Banking, West Region & Entertainment Industries Group
Reggie Lang, Senior Entertainment Banker
Jeff Bazoian, Senior Entertainment Banker
Darian Singer, Senior Entertainment Banker; J.P. Morgan’s Corporate Client Banking Entertainment Industries Group
Shaheen leads the team that assembled a $14.5 billion portfolio for content production/distribution clients. Since 2015, the Los Angeles-based banking unit led 49 deals for $26.6 billion in syndication debt transactions claiming a 90% market share. In the past year, transactions include a $750 million syndicated credit facility for Concord Music, a $380 million syndicated credit facility refinancing for Content Partners; a $260 million syndicated credit facility refinancing for eOne and advising on its $4 billion sale; a $1.1 billion syndicated credit facility refinancing for Hasbro; a $550 million high-yield public debt raise for Lionsgate; $75 million inaugural credit facility for Jeffrey Katzenberg-led Quibi; and a $187 million syndicated credit facility refinancing for Wasserman Media. Shaheen says the entertainment/media sector “continues to show strength amidst significant consolidation and disruption.” Consumers consumption lifts business because “whether it’s passive content consumption or interactive experiences, consumers constantly seek entertainment.”
Partner, Entertainment & Media Industry Group, Reed Smith
With more than 25 years of experience, Shapiro is the leading lawyer in Reed Smith’s music and sports practices, representing top musical performers, producers and songwriters across all genres, including Rihanna (the wealthiest female musician, per Forbes), Mariah Carey, SZA, Lord Huron and Kesha. Most recently, Shapiro led a team to negotiate and conclude a series of groundbreaking strategic ventures for Rihanna’s Savage X, Fenty and Fenty Beauty lines. “It’s not often that you get to work with someone as visionary and iconic as Rihanna, and her talents extend to everything she wants to touch in life,” he says.
Founding Partner, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein & Lezcano
A recipient of Columbia Law School Medal of Excellence, Shaw’s dedicated work enabled her client Ava DuVernay to land the rights to Netflix’s award-winning limited series “When They See Us,” and she served as lead on DuVernay’s overall deal with WarnerMedia. “I’m very excited about the possibilities presented by Ava’s production company, Array, which does both the work of a more traditional production company, but also has its film distribution company, which just completed its first open-to-the-public film festival,” Shaw says. She also recently helped to ink Regina King’s big overall deal at Netflix.
Partner and Leader, Digital and Technology Transactions Practice, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips
Having developed an impressive and eclectic client list, including professional Fortnite player Nickmercs and popular esports personality Disguised Toast, Sherman has cemented himself as the top adviser operating in the flourishing esports industry. And while being responsible for cutting-edge gaming and tech deals might be a high-stress activity, it’s all a part of the exciting process for Sherman. “Every day is a new challenge when you’re working in such a dynamic and constantly changing industry, but it thrills me to look at video game culture across the board,” he says. “Over the next 10 years we’re going to see substantial growth.”
Partner and Head of New Media, Motion Picture, Television, Theater, Publishing and Sports Group, Grubman Shire Meiselas & Sacks
Shire clients include Robert De Niro (“Joker” and “The Irishman”); Drake, who is creating Sirius/XM and Pandora audio channels; and Facebook for its TV program initiatives. The New York-based attorney also reps iHeartMedia, Elton John, “CBS This Morning’s” Gayle King, LeBron James, producer Scott Rudin, Spotify, Bruce Springsteen and dozens of OTT digital media transactions for talent including Lady Gaga and David Letterman. Shire is convinced “the consumer doesn’t completely understand what is about to hit them” as video streaming platforms proliferate.
Marc H. Simon
Vice Chair, Entertainment & Sports Law Dept., Fox Rothschild
Simon represents Emily Spivack for her “Worn Stories” adaptation at Netflix; filmmakers for docu “40 Years of Rocky: The Birth of a Classic,” licensed to MGM; and former White House photographer Pete Souza, whose book inspired a Focus Features docu. Other clients are Full Picture Prods., model-turned-brand entrepreneur Adriana Lima; Joe Pesci (“The Irishman”); and “Knock Down the House” exec producers Stephanie Soechtig and Kristin Lazure. The New York-based Simon reps talent, financiers and content creators. With hologram deals landing on his desk, he expects that Hollywood will “bring back artists who have passed away for lucrative live events across the media spectrum.”
President, CEO, Skydance Media
Sisgold runs point on all deal-flow across Skydance’s film divisions while maintaining operational oversight over the company’s evolving television slate. He brokered with Paramount a co-financing and marketing arrangement with partner and investor Tencent on “Top Gun: Maverick,” as well as Paramount and Hasbro’s “Transformers” spinoff hit, “Bumblebee.” Similar to the groundbreaking deal with Netflix for Michael Bay’s “6 Underground,” Sisgold sold Charlize Theron’s “The Old Guard” to the streamer. “I believe in the power of storytelling, and I also strongly believe in the importance of partnership and collaboration to optimize a great story for the broadest audience possible,” he says.
Chris Spicer, P. John Burke, Marissa Román Griffith, Alissa Miller
Entertainment Practice Group, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld
In the past year the Akin Gump team closed deals totaling more than $1 billion. For Comerica Bank, it facilitated $45 million in revolving credit for Bron Studios’ slate with Warner Bros. that included “Joker” and a $40 million loan credit facility for Lionsgate’s first season of “Ambitions.” Highlights also include China-related film deals for East West Bank, including Perfect Universe’s film slate financing round for Universal. “It used to be somebody might come in and finance one film, but that market has changed,” Miller says. “We need to try to forecast what will happen in the future so we can help our clients get good deals.”
Matthew Syrkin and Ken Lefkowitz
Matthew Syrkin, Partner and Global Chair, Media, Technology and Commercial Transactions Group
Ken Lefkowitz, Partner and Global Co-Chair of Corporate Practice Group; Hughes Hubbard & Reed
In 2019, Syrkin and Lefkowitz consistently delivered major front-page deals, with Syrkin negotiating Epix’s first direct-to-consumer streaming distribution deal, and Lefkowitz managing a $3.7 billion acquisition of Sotheby’s. The Epix deal has cemented the premium outlet as a force in the business as it gears up to create content. With tech and data-driven platforms reigning supreme, Syrkin says established media players are at a crossroads, having to disrupt themselves to adapt in a world increasingly defined by Netflix, HBO Max, YouTube and Disney Plus. “Navigating this paradigm shift requires new thinking and tech-specific expertise from dealmakers versed in accounting for seismic technological shifts,” Syrkin says.
EVP Business Affairs, Sony Pictures Television
The 20-year vet reversed the prevailing deal trend and negotiated the migration of the series “One Day at a Time” from its original streaming home on Netflix to cabler Pop. She also closed overall deals with Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (“The Lego Movie”), Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa (“Homeland”), Michelle MacLaren (“Breaking Bad”) and Norman Lear, and set up the series “The Boondocks” at HBO Max and “Woke” at Hulu, as well as “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” at Netflix and AMC.
Matt Thompson, Rusty Weiss, Richard Petretti, Stephen Fronk
Partners, Sidley Austin
Thompson advised eOne Entertainment in its $4 billion acquisition by Hasbro. Weiss repped Dwayne Johnson’s Seven Bucks Creative on its Under Armour campaign. Working with banks such as J.P. Morgan and City National, Petretti crafts deals with innovative financing structures, like a recent nine-figure senior revolving credit facility for an independent production company to finance TV and streaming content. The firm also boasts San Francisco-based Fronk, who repped Twitch in its $90 million licensing deal with Activision Blizzard for worldwide streaming rights of all live matches and related content for Overwatch esports league.
Responsible for overseeing all facets of original programming and distribution while leading overall creative and marketing efforts, Wright has guided Epix into massive expansion, and this past year signed a number of high-profile carriage deals with DirecTV, Apple Channels, YouTube TV, Roku and Amazon Prime Video Channels, while making a push into original content. “We’re also launching our new ScreenPix channels on Xfinity TV, a curated collection of classic movies, available to watch uncut and commercial free,” says Wright. It recently launched streaming service Epix Now and will replace Starz and its associated channels in Comcast TV packages.
Chairman, CEO, Wasserman; Chairman, LA 2028; President, CEO, Wasserman Foundation
The clients of Wasserman’s self-titled sports marketing and management company range from the NBA’s Russell Westbrook to 11 members of the U.S. Women’s Soccer team. He also heads LA 2028, the nonprofit responsible for bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles, for which he brokered a multi-tiered partnership with NBCUniversal in April covering media, sponsorship and activations for all Olympic and Paralympic Games from 2021-28. “We can’t predict what the world’s going to be like nine years from now and we’re not going to try,” he says of the 2028 Games. “So we’re going to do everything we can around the things we know are going to matter.”
UP NEXT: Nicole Bagood
Associate, Sheppard Mullin
Bagood has represented some of the top names and brands in the entertainment industry, ranging from Lionsgate to BH Cosmetics in her associate role at Sheppard Mullin. Some of Bagood’s recent work includes HBO’s “Sharp Objects” with Amy Adams, development deals for Amazon Studios for Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins’ new series, “The Underground Railroad,” and, most recently, financing eOne’s “Queen & Slim” from Grammy-winning director Melina Matsoukas and Emmy-winning writer Lena Waithe.
UP NEXT: Mitch Federer
Associate, Del Shaw Moonves
Formerly the head of business affairs and all legal operation for Kinetic Content (“Married at First Sight”), Federer was recruited by Del Shaw to spearhead the representation of Big Fish Entertainment. Outside the office, he’s molding the minds of the youth as an adjunct professor at Southwestern Law School in the entertainment department and is credited with creating the only course at a law school on legal affairs in unscripted television production.
UP NEXT: Brian Fenty
Fenty co-created the theater ticketing platform TodayTix with his friend Merritt Baer in 2013 at age 27. Now CEO, Fenty started the company to bridge the gap in the market for transparent, mobile-first, easy-to-use theater ticketing platforms. The firm has since expanded to 16 markets across the world, selling one ticket every 15 seconds to more than 5 million customers worldwide, which translates to more than $300 million in sales.
UP NEXT: Alexis Fleischer
Founder, CEO, Timeline Management
Fleischer has capitalized on some of Hollywood’s most profitable social-media sensations. In five years, the 20-something founder and CEO of Timeline Management has raked in a series of deals with brands such as Revolve, Tequila Avion, Ciroc, Pretty Little Thing, Missguided, Oh Polly, Venmo, Olay Skincare, Walmart, Garnier, McDonald’s, Burger King and Claires/Icing Accessories. In addition to her work in Chantel Jeffries’ transition from social-media fame to the music industry, her roster of clients includes Jojo Fletcher, Anastasia (Stassie) Karanikolaou and Larsa Pippen.
UP NEXT: Kevin Gould
Founder, Kombo Ventures
There’s a phenomenon happening in the digital space “right now where you see influencers that have real scale [and] can build brands,” Gould says. His company Kombo Ventures manages top talent including Sssniperwolf and has expanded into brand development. He launched the women’s hair brand Insert Name Here in October 2018 before partnering with digital influencers Dolan Twins to launch the fragrance and scent brand Wakeheart in July. Both brands and Kombo Ventures each produce seven figures in revenue.
UP NEXT: Grace Kallis
Partner, Ginsburg Daniels Kallis
Kallis became the youngest woman to make partner at an entertainment firm. “I like my clients to feel as close to the dealmaking process as possible,” she says. “It’s important to me they know what’s going on and why.” Kallis has secured deals for LaKeith Stanfield to star in the 2020 romantic comedy “The Photograph,” directed by Stella Meghie, and Ryan Coogler’s new film “Jesus Was My Homeboy.” Other clients include Ricky Whittle (“American Gods”) and Patrick Walsh (“Living Biblically”).
UP NEXT: Josh Keesan
Counsel, Business & Legal Affairs, Netflix
Netflix’s lead production lawyer on the deal below handles pacts with the streamer’s original productions. These include “Let It Snow”; Ryan Murphy’s “The Boys in the Band”; and Robert Rodriguez’s “We Can Be Heroes.”; along with “Sextuplets.” He played a key role in settling the rights deal with Ubisoft for “The Division” featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Chastain.
UP NEXT: Samantha Offsay Nissen
VP Original Programming, Starz
Offsay Nissen oversaw the final season of hit “Power,” and is now overseeing the series’ spinoff “Power Book II: Ghost,” featuring Mary J. Blige. Her projects in development are “Kin,” with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, and the wrestling drama titled “Heels” starring Stephen Amell (“Arrow”). “As Mr. Rogers said, ‘TV has the power to create a community of the entire country,” says the exec.
UP NEXT: Jason Rejebian
Senior Associate, ACF
Rejebian is credited for his role in assisting eOne’s acquisition of New York-based production company Blackfin. The outfit continues to run under CEO Geno McDermott as a premium label and production company with eOne. Rejebian also advised IAC on the sale of Electus and Artists First to Propagate Content, allowing Electus to retain the rights to many of its shows and formats.
UP NEXT: Ryan Webb
Associate, Greenberg Glusker
Webb is already being eyed for the role of equity partner at Greenberg Glusker. His entertainment client list has grown exponentially, with Webb counseling Cross Creek Pictures on David Ayer’s “The Tax Collector” and Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” with Eddie Redmayne and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this year. Webb counsels Patriot on “Prisoners of the Ghostland” with Nicolas Cage, and has single-handedly brought in hundreds of thousands of dollars in new business for the past two years, a rare feat for a lawyer his age.
UP NEXT: Rana Zand, Brian Sokolik, Victoria Bachan, Amron Lopez
Rana Zand, Head of Digital, Talent Manager & Producer
Brian Sokolik, Victoria Bachan, Amron Lopez, Talent Managers; Authentic Talent and Literary Management
Authentic established its digital department in 2017, and the lead team has generated approximately $25 million in revenue. Highlights include Zand setting up model-turned-actress Barbie Ferreira in her first major role in the HBO series “Euphoria.” Sokolik, Bachan and Lopez handle an array of multiplatform social-media stars. Sokolik’s clients include the Dobre Bros. (65 million followers); Bachon established a direct-to-retail line at Claire’s for Doug the Pug, with hefty year-to-date worldwide sales. Lopez has set up brand deals for clients including Olivia Rouyre (Sephora).
Dealmakers List 2019
The people behind the biggest pacts in the world of showbiz