limato.jpgOh no, not again. I checked out the first buzz six weeks ago that the talent agent (who reps Mel Gibson, Denzel Washington, Steve Martin, Richard Gere, Liam Neeson and others) was shockingly leaving the tenpercentery where he’s worked for 30 out of the 40 years he’s been in showbiz to go to CAA — and Ed Limato denied it. I checked it out again today — and Ed Limato denied it again. “Look, Nikki, you can believe me that if anything ever happens in my career I promise to tell you. There is no truth to that rumor,” he told me on the record about 5 minutes ago. Also, his office staff have been receiving calls about this all AM and answering “ridiculous!” I surmise the reason for the talk is that 1) the rumor showed up on one of those damn tracking boards, and 2) I do know Ed’s deal is technically up this month (but I’ve been told by others at the agency that the contract has automatic extensions for some provisions and require renegotiation for others), and 3) everyone is aware that Ed is a longtime friend of Bryan Lourd’s and Kevin Huvane’s (they worked together eons ago at William Morris, and still occasionally break bread together), and, 4) icmnewlogo.JPGEd was always very financially tied to ICM as one of its biggest shareholders so that was the major reason everyone thought he would never leave. But he cashed out. Here’s more of what I know: Ed is still very much in the Ed business, and a lot less in the ICM business after the merger with Broder made Limato and Chris Silbermann co-presidents. But that’s also because Ed’s managerial duties have lessened. The result is he comes and goes as he pleases a lot more than before. His pals say he’d like ICM, whose TV division is now a powerhouse again after the Broder merger, to shore up its motion picture department in a similar fashion. Obviously the loss of Limato would be a huge blow to the tenpercentery. But I believe what Ed keeps telling me.