Next Gen 2010: Agents

Issue 54 - Next Gen 2010: Agents Andrew Miller, Brent Morley, Josh Hornstock, Todd Christopher, Joe Labracio, Ryan Bartlett
Bill Phelps

(From left) CAA's Andrew Miller, WME's Brent Morley, ICM's Josh Hornstock, Gersh’s Todd Christopher, UTA's Joe Labracio, Paradigm's Ryan Bartlett. Photographed on location at the penthouse suite and rooftop of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

Agency executives and agents from this year's report on influential industry players

Ryan Bartlett
35, Talent agent, Paradigm

When he was 14, Bartlett moved by himself from his hometown of Basildon, England, to Mesa, Ariz., to pursue professional tennis. “That obviously didn’t work out,” he says with a laugh. Although he still manages to squeeze in the occasional tennis match, Bartlett mostly enjoys volleying of a different kind these days. At Paradigm, he’s carved out a niche for the youth market, negotiating seven-figure salaries for Twilight actors Jackson Rathbone, Peter Facinelli and Nikki Reed and placing ABC Family teen star Shailene Woodley in the high-profile drama The Descendants opposite George Clooney. It’s a huge boost for the former USC film student who, at 28, switched careers after working in acquisitions at Fox 2000, among others. He landed as an assistant in Paradigm’s lit department, where late-hour chats with talent co-head Steve Small got him thinking. “He said: ‘What are you doing in lit? You’ve got talent agent written all over you.’ ”

Todd Christopher
35, Senior vp, head of alternative packaging, Gersh

A plasma TV in each of the five bedrooms of his Sherman Oaks home means that Christopher never has a reprieve from television — which is exactly how he likes it. “I am extremely competitive,” admits the mastermind behind Gersh’s alternative programming department. The Princeton grad and former All-American swimmer is applying his competitive edge to handling clients like Drew Carey (Christopher orchestrated his The Price Is Right gig and another project for the Game Show Network); actress Sara Gilbert (CBS’ new chatter The Talk); and Community’s Joel McHale, for whom he’s working on a re-up for the actor’s host gig on The Soup. Christopher, whose career began in the William Morris mailroom a decade ago, says he never showers execs with too many ideas. “I prefer to be like a sniper -- a one-shot kill method,” he says.

Josh Hornstock
35, TV literary agent, ICM

Los Angeles native Hornstock knows how to put out fires. Before joining ICM, he was a firefighter in Northern California for three years. “I never got a kitten out of a tree,” Hornstock says. “But it was exciting.” Since 2006, Hornstock has found similar excitement cultivating untested TV talents. Kevin Biegel, co-creator of Cougar Town, started with Hornstock when he was a writer’s assistant on The Tracy Morgan Show. Hornstock also landed an overall deal at Universal Media Studios for Sonny Lee and Patrick Walsh (Outsourced) and helped Stephen Falk cross over from features to supervising producer on Weeds. “I kill myself for my clients,” Hornstock says. “I’m still putting out fires, but these don’t burn as much.”

Joe LaBracio
32, Agent, alternative television department, UTA

LaBracio started his television career a decade ago as Ted Koppel’s assistant in the New York newsroom of Nightline. After two exhausting years, which included the 2000 presidential election and 9/11. “I realized, if you want to be a news producer in a live newsroom, it’s your life.” For LaBracio, it wasn’t. In 2003, he moved to Hollywood to work for Ghen Maynard, CBS’ senior vp alternative television, who promoted him to director of alternative series development less than a year later. This gig was a natural segue to agency life, first in the unscripted department at CAA and today at UTA, where he has tripled the business the firm does in the cable world, packaging a diverse lineup of reality shows like Police Women and The Great Food Truck Race. He does miss hard news now and then, but as the father of a 2-year-old who’s traded skydiving for marathon running since becoming a parent, he wouldn’t trade his life for the 24-hour news cycle.

Andrew Miller
32, TV literary agent, CAA

You’d think having to buy a toaster for your boss would put you off any job. But when that boss is Jerry Bruckheimer, think again. The Encino-bred Miller was so awed by interning for the mega-producer (“Jerry was incredible") that, despite being the dedicated catcher for the University of Michigan’s baseball team, he knew he had to get into showbiz. After graduation, Miller landed at UTA, then followed boss Chris Harbert to CAA; there Miller has been responsible for connecting Andrew Lenchewski (Royal Pains) and Jeff Eastin (White Collar) with USA Network’s Bonnie Hammer, resulting in CAA’s first scripted shows to air on the network. However dedicated to his craft, Miller hasn’t given up hardball: He plays every Sunday afternoon with a group of high school pals.

Brent Morley
35, Talent agent, WME

Morley had an epiphany about what he really wanted to do while working for then-boss Alfonso Cuaron. When the director of Y Tu Mama Tambien had a meeting at Endeavor, Morley realized: “I’m supposed to be on that side. I just responded to the energy.” After working for a few weeks in the Endeavor mailroom, the St. Louis native became Ari Emanuel’s second assistant. Now he’s repping clients like Sacha Baron Cohen and Daniel Tosh and is lead agent for Dustin Hoffman, Malin Akerman and “It” girl Rooney Mara. “We saw Tanner Hall and knew that she was something special,” the agent -- who can be found hiking Runyon Canyon with his wife Joanna on weekends -- says of Mara. Getting her the highly coveted starring role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was a feat all on its own. “David Fincher was honestly the driving force,” Morley says. “Everyone in our building galvanized to get her the job. It was
a roller coaster.”

Next Gen 2010 profiles written and reported by Randee Dawn, Leslie Bruce, Todd Longwell, Carita Rizzo, Lauren Schutte and Andrew Wallenstein