Reps for top reality producers have grown with their clients
EmptyLike the genre itself, the field of reality TV representation is young and fast-evolving.
Ten years ago, there were no reality agents. Today, every major agency has a full-fledged alternative TV department -- a reflection of the fact that the business of reality shows is also changing.
WMA was the pioneer in the area, shepherding "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire," MTV's "The Real World" and CBS' "Big Brother." The agency continues to represent such big names as FremantleMedia, Bunim-Murray Prods., Magical Elves Prods., Arthur Smith, Ryan Seacrest and Eyeworks 3Ball Prods. under the direction of 26-year agency veteran Mark Itkin, who came from the syndication and cable areas.
Another former WMA syndie agent, Greg Lipstone, now heads the
international television and media division of ICM, which represents BBC Worldwide Prods., Granada America, LMNO, Lighthearted Entertainment and producer Matt Kunitz.
Endeavor's alternative television department, founded and headed by Sean Perry, boasts 17 unscripted show packages and reps two of the most prolific reality producers today, Thom Beers and Craig Piligian, along with Ricochet, Tiger Aspect Prods., Tyra Banks, Gordon Ramsey and Randy Jackson.
CAA, whose alternative team includes "American Idol" deal negotiator Alix Hartley, reps heavyweights Simon Fuller, Simon Cowell, Bertram Van Munster and Katalyst Films.
Michael Camacho, one of the first young agents to enter the growing area, left CAA in February after 15 years to take over the alternative team of UTA, which constitutes a third of the agency's TV department. UTA focuses on creators and exec producers, repping Mike Fleiss, Tom Forman, R. J. Cutler, Cris Abrego, Allison Grodner and Sally Ann Salsano.
In another major reality agent migration this year, 21-year ICM veteran Steve Wohl decamped to Paradigm, taking with him Ken Mok and Rocket Science Laboratories and reuniting with former longtime client Bruce Nash.
And perhaps most influential in structuring reality deals is attorney Jeanne Newman. An early believer in the genre, with clients like Endemol and Reveille, she now reps a bigger percentage of THR's reality power list than any other lawyer.
Mark Itkin, Greg Lipstone, Sean Perry, Alix Hartley, Steve Wohl, Michael Camacho and Jeanne Newman