EXCLUSIVE: After a five-year run as president of Levity Entertainment Group, Norman Aladjem has left to start Mainstay Entertainment — and his longtime LEG colleagues Ray Moheet, Derek Van Pelt and Sanaz Yamin are joining him as partners in the new company. Tim Honigman will also be joining the group as a manager/producer in the literary area.
About 35 to 40 clients will be also be joining them. Those include Trevor Noah, Aaron McGruder, Radha Mitchell, Kim Coates, Maz Jobrani, Rockmond Dunbar, Rachel Feinstein and Andrea Navedo. Mainstay will focus on talent management and TV/film production.
The company opens its doors today in new offices located in the 9250 Beverly Blvd. building, the same office where Starz is located.
The parting between LEG and Aladjem and his group was said to be amiable. In fact, LEG and Mainstay will continue to produce a number of projects together, including Black Jesus. Also, LEG CEO Robert Hartmann gave this statement: “Norm has been a valued partner as LEG has continued to expand. We continue to build our network of live venues, multi-platform production and our comedy-centric talent management division. We wish Norm and his group much success in their new venture.” The company is also forwarding calls from Aladjem’s offices to the new company.
Aladjem, who was in flight when Deadline caught up with him, said: “I found that I was working with this amazing group of manager-producers in Ray, Derek, Sanaz and Tim, who are like-minded in their passion and approach for architecting artists’ careers and helping them tell their stories. We wanted a platform where we could focus on that.”
As far as the new partners of Mainstay go, Moheet worked for the last seven years as a manager/producer at LEG; prior to that he was a talent agent for a decade. Van Pelt began his career at LEG, spending the last nine years there as a manager/producer. Yamin transitioned to LEG several years ago after beginning her career as an attorney while Honigman started his career in film production before coming to LEG.
Mainstay is already hitting the ground running as the company’s first feature film as producers will be Simple Wedding, written and to be directed by filmmaker Sara Zandieh; the film is scheduled to start principal photography in April.
Also already on the new company’s slate is the thriller Dark Whispers by David Wilson, gearing up for a fall start in Louisiana. The project reteams Aladjem with producer Ryan Westheimer and director Jabbar Raisani, with whom he produced Black Knight Decoded last year for Pepsi Content Studios starring David Oyelowo, Freida Pinto and Usher.