Over-extended CAA is fishing for capital. I’m told the talent agency is putting on dog and pony shows for venture capitalists at its Century City mausoleum and asking whether they’re interested in buying a piece of CAA for their very own. This is the direct result of the cash crunch at CAA I’ve been reporting for many months now. Now I understand why that Fortune magazine article went only a millimeter deep about problems at the agency; it clearly was a prospectus for CAA and should have been labeled as such. Only problem is, I doubt the inexperienced reporter even knew he was being played. Whereas Fortune assistant managing editor John Brodie has been Hollywood’s (and CAA’s) official publicist — actually, more like apologist — since his incompetent Variety days. Still, I’m amazed not only that CAA’s partners have spent themselves into such a humiliating position as to need financial backers, but that they have the chutzpah to solicit the suckers within weeks of an inevitable strike.
Of course, if the red ink continues to flow, CAA might think about further raising the already obscene prices at Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s new in-house eatery Craft whose menu is all a la carte. On the one hand, CAA agents can no longer fly first class. On the other, they can waste $88 on the Wagyu 12 oz. rib-eye steak, $96 on a 6 oz Wagyu sirloin, and $92 on roasted and braised baby lamb. Did I mention that even the side dish of assorted mushrooms is $21? But only the best for our Bryan. (After all, Lourd fathered Craft’s $8 million arrival here with the Trammell Crow real estate developers. All so that stars can sneak in through the kitchen to the specially reserved rear booth…) Because of the price revulsion, Craft finally introduced two sandwiches and a prix fixe $38 three course meal at lunch. So I can’t understand why Endeavor’s Ari Emanuel would allow himself to be seen there.
And, finally, the rumor du jour has it that Endeavor’s Patrick Whitesell is in the midst of trying to seduce CAA agent Brandt Joel to jump. Wagging tongues say the main sticking point is that Joel can’t be certain of which clients would follow him. Yet an Endeavor source insists to me the rumor is not true and may have started because Whitesell and Joel are good friends. “But they keep business separate,” I’m told.
UPDATED: I hear motion picture lit agent Michael Peretzian is leaving CAA. He reps Anthony Minghella, Peter Hedges, John Madden, Christopher Hampton, Nick Hytner, Richard Eyre