Doesn’t everyone know by now that you don’t mess with Oprah? Apparently not Michael Camacho, the head of CAA’s Alternative TV department. I’m told he was fired by the tenpercentery after he helped make Oprah’s deal for her new network and then secretly manuevered to run the venture. The packaging agent who started as a trainee in the CAA mailroom in 1993 had been named one of The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Next Generation”, and Television Week‘s “12 to Watch”. Among his clients were TV producers Mike Fleiss (The Bachelor), RJ Cutler (The War Room, 30 Days), and Bertram van Munster (The Amazing Race). Some tell me he was popular inside the agency; others say not. “While obviously the notion of popularity can be a highly subjective designation, Lee Gabler wanted to fire him on more than one occasion, and Camacho only managed to save himself in the trainee program by letting David Tenzer taking him under his wing in the syndication department (which later morphed into the alternative department). He did not fit in with the culture there.”
Camacho had been the sidekick to Kevin Huvane at CAA on the team that spent months making Oprah’s deal with Discovery Communications to create an Oprah-branded TV network. “I love this kid. People really trusted him,” an insider explained to me. “But then he went and pitched her to run the whole thing. And then lied about it to Kevin.” I’m told people inside Oprah’s organization were upset when they found out what Camacho had done. And CAA felt it had no choice but to let him go. That said, I hear CAA is trying to place Camacho into a company or help him start up his own. That would be better for the agency than if he went to another tenpercentery. I’m told Camacho’s lawyer has already been talking to the top agencies about hiring him.