The rumors began yesterday and then heated up because of an erroneous Hollywood Reporter story today. “People have been predicting my demise for 30 years,” Metropolitan talent agency topper Chris Barrett just told me. But the agency has been going through tough times worsened by the recent writer’s strike. So the tenpercentery has downsized to a dramatic degree: where it once had 20 agents at its height and then a dozen agents before the writers strike, Metropolitan will now consist of Barrett and 2 or 3 agents (including his sister-in-law Sara Schedeen) plus support staff handling clients, he says. “It will not look like it did before. It’ll be a speed bump, not a battleship,” Barrett tells me. “We’re absolutely not closing. But I don’t want to run a company. I want to focus on clients.” Barrett concedes that tough times led to groups of agents leaving or let go. “The writers strike and current de facto strike had something to do with my decision,” he says. “Those are symptoms of a much larger disruption of the economy of show business.” He has an allied software business he says is thriving, MTA Interactive.
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