Tough times at Metropolitan


Metropolitan Talent Agency is laying off the majority of its staff and might close its doors. The recent WGA strike is being blamed.

The Los Angeles-based company, which counts as clients such actors and writers as Peter Fonda, Michael York, Debbie Reynolds, Parker Stevenson and Levar Burton, is negotiating the exit of eight employees, who will leave by week's end.

It is understood that company founder Christopher Barrett and talent agent Sara Schedeen, who is Barrett's sister-in-law, are staying on, though it is not known whether the pared-down entity will be an agency or a management company.

Sources said that Metropolitan had a tough time weathering the writers strike and that the upsurge in work -- be it in acting or writing -- that was expected when scribes returned has not materialized.

"The strike has taken out a viable company," one insider said.

Sources said that Barrett told the staff the news Friday night. Barrett did not return calls by press time Monday.

For years, Metropolitan had been plagued with rumors about its uncertain future. The agency suffered a blow a few years ago when agents Gabrielle Krengel, Melisa Spamer and Joe Vance left to help form Domain. Since the beginning of the year, three other agents -- Alan Ellsweig, Christina King and Jennifer Good -- also have departed.