Power Lawyers 2011
When the mild-mannered Anschell decided in law school in Canada that he might be interested in cutthroat Hollywood, he headed south and began climbing the ladder at two West Los Angeles law firms. Despite the competition in a town littered with flashy showbiz attorneys, when the top lawyer at client CBS retired in 2004, it was Anschell, then just 36, who got the call to replace her. Today, the father of two -- wife Abigail is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, which helps when he's handling matters for CBS News -- has become one of Hollywood's most respected and well-liked legal executives, an easy choice for The Hollywood Reporter's Raising the Bar award, given to a studio or network legal exec who has distinguished himself. Anschell, honored July 13 at THR's Power Lawyers breakfast, oversees 50 lawyers as CBS' top risk assessor, directing litigation, resolving talent fights and devising anti-piracy strategy. CBS has been busy with cases filed by former NCIS showrunner Don Bellisario over profits from NCIS: Los Angeles and a claim by the cast of Happy Days over branded slot machines. But Anschell has been mostly spared the war over Charlie Sheen's exit from CBS' Two and a Half Men. The actor, suing Warner Bros. and Chuck Lorre for $100 million, chose not to go after CBS despite calling Les Moonves a "scoundrel." Why? "I would run out of lunch invitations very quickly if I started commenting on other people's litigation," Aschell jokes.