Kernan leaves ICM

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LAS VEGAS -- The co-head of ICM's digital group has left the agency to launch his own company specializing in Internet content.

Michael Kernan, an eight-year ICM veteran, is launching Nu Media Studios and Management, which will be structured as a hybrid of a production house and management firm. One part of the company will be devoted to providing financing, advertising sales and syndication for producers of Internet programming, while another will focus on managing the interests of a select group of clients already signed.

"There are many creative ways to make real money in the new-media space," Kernan said. "It will be advertiser-based, but there is no reason that the right productions cannot have a meaningful payout to the talent."

Nu Media has attracted financing from a private-equity firm that Kernan declined to divulge. The venture is a partnership with Nu Media Prods., a shingle started by actor-producer Huntley Ritter, who will oversee production.

Nu Media not only will look to make deals in the shortform online category but cross-platform programming as well.

On the management side, Nu Media is looking to exploit underdeveloped niches in the digital space. The company is expected to represent strictly the digital interests of a select group of performers Kernan declined to identify. Management companies typically don't have new-media divisions, an area he is looking to make a specialty of Nu Media.

Nu Media also is maintaining a roster of technology firms capable of creating the growing market of ambitious Internet environments that TV networks have been launching to support existing hit series.

They include Hoodlum Entertainment, creators of the alternate reality game "Find815" that is promoting the new season of ABC's "Lost"; Xenophile Media, creators of the Emmy-winning ARG behind the ABC Family series "Fallen"; It's All in Your Hands, producer of the Broadband Emmy-winning online series "Satacracy 88"; and PBJS, the shingle producing an online home for the Thomas Friedman best-seller "The World Is Flat" on MSN.

Kernan has helped keep ICM active in Hollywood's nascent digital game, packaging deals including AOL's "Million Dollar Bill" and an overall pact between Yahoo and Rocket Science Laboratories.

Kernan is not the first digital-minded agent to exit his firm to launch a full-service agency with an eye on the Internet. Last year, UTA new-media chief Brent Weinstein left to start 60Frames, a company that also packages producers and advertisers for online projects.

Nu Media is setting up shop in Beverly Hills in a building formerly inhabited by Endeavor.
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