EXCLUSIVE: Top literary managers David Lonner and Larry Shuman are in serious talks to merge their companies, Oasis Media Group and The Shuman Co, respectively. In the scenario being discussed, Shuman and Lonner and his Oasis partner John Mass would join forces under the Oasis umbrella, tied to an effort to secure financing to expand the business. If it closes, the merger would bring under the same roof such feature and TV heavyweights as JJ Abrams, Brad Silberling, Jon Turteltaub, Shawn Ryan and David Shore. While 2-year-old Oasis has some TV clients — crossover A-lister Abrams and ER and Detroit 1-8-7 showrunner David Zabel — the company skews heavily towards features with a client list that includes Abrams, Silberling, Turteltaub, Peter Sollett, Michael Tolkin, Audrey Wells and Rob Minkoff. Meanwhile, Shuman, who has run his boutique company for 20 years, has a TV-heavy roster that includes House creator Shore, The Shield creator Ryan, Hunt Baldwin & John Coveny (co-creators of A&E’s upcoming series Longmire) and The Inside and Drive co-creator Tim Minear. Among Shuman’s handful of crossover clients is TV writer Carl Ellsworth, who segued into features with Red Eye and Disturbia. But overall, there is little overlap between Oasis and the Shuman Co’s areas of coverage, making a merger one where the pieces fit and would give the combined company heft in both film and television.
Managing lit talent will remain the company’s core business, but Lonner, Shuman and Mass will also work to put projects together. They teamed recently to sell their first show together, Devious Maids, the Marc Cherry-penned adaptation of the Mexican Telenovela The Disorderly Maids Of The Neighborhood. Cherry, Lonner, Mass and Shuman are executive producing the ABC dramedy along with Cherry’s producing partner Sabrina Wind. The combined company is expected to have staff dedicated to producing in a creator-friendly environment. Lonner left WMA to form Oasis Media Group in July 2009. At the time, he explored joining forces with The Dark Knight producer Chuck Roven, but those talks went nowhere. At WMA, Lonner had repped Abrams with John Fogelman, who segued to WME but left earlier this year. Abrams departed the agency shortly after, and now Lonner is his sole representative.