EXCLUSIVE: I have huge news for the Hollywood tenpercentery world. Network sources tell me that Adam Sher, who has been Ryan Seacrest’s longtime William Morris agent for 8 1/2 years, is leaving the rep business to run Ryan Seacrest Productions. This means that Seacrest may now be in play, so watch every major agency make a pitch for him and his very hot business. People describe Sher to me as a nice guy, so maybe he’ll protect William Morris where he was an agent for 15 years, presently in the non-scripted business. Sher has said he’ll stick around for a bit to ease the transition. And, of course, Seacrest and his production company have told Morris they’re staying put. That may happen, especially since the other point man handling Ryan’s biz has been John Ferriter, the head of Morris’ non-scripted TV department and recently appointed Board member. But certainly other tenpercenters will go after Sher’s soon-to-be former clients, like Magical Elves’ Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz who are responsible for all those Bravo shows like Project Runway and Top Chef. As for Ryan Seacrest Inc, many feel that Sher is getting in on the ground floor of a giant future. “Ryan will be the next Dick Clark,” an insider tells me. “He’s the only one who has a shot at creating a production studio.”
For those who aren’t in the know, Seacrest is much more than just a fey TV personality with no discernible talent. But as famed TV critic Tom Shales wrote in a great piece called “Ryan Seacrest Inc”, Ryan is trying to mimic Rupert Murdoch. The Viscount of Vapidness is paid an estimated $12.5 million annually just for hosting American Idol, not counting all the ancillary gigs he’s lined up. He has a 3-year, $21 million contract with E! Entertainment Network to host its special event programming and Red Carpet coverage as well as an overall production deal there in which he shares the ownership of the shows he creates. He has investments in eight Southern California restaurants, runs a half-dozen media companies and recently launched “The ‘R’ Line” fashion label. And this year he took 3 hours of his daily 5-hour L.A. radio show national, via syndication — and his own advertising company retains 10 minutes of the commercial time to sell on its own, so that the profit goes right back to Seacrest. He does those insipid toothpaste commercials because of a relationship with Procter & Gamble. Seacrest now has lotsa little companies: Ryan Seacrest Productions, “On Air With Ryan Seacrest,” which employs about 20 people; “Top 40” radio has a staff of about 15; Sea Calm, which is the radio division; and Seacrest Sales, which is the sales division. Seacrest told Shales: “The challenge for me is taking all these parts and figuring out how they can come together to make a big media company.” That now becomes Adam Sher’s challenge, too.