Another day, another round of rumors about Paradigm. There had been steady chatter for the past couple of months about merger conversations between CAA and Paradigm, with both sides privately shutting down speculation. Paradigm chief Sam Gores did it internally today following an LA Times report that he held exploratory talks to be acquired by CAA. Gores flatly denied the agency was considering the CAA deal, issuing an internal memo to the agency’s troops. As you might recall, Paradigm went down the road toward a deal with UTA, but Gores had a change of heart and wanted to remain independent.
There have been recent internal changes at Paradigm. The agency has shuttered its unscripted television department, for the reason that it wasn’t performing up to the satisfaction of ownership. That was part of the 30 layoffs Deadline revealed earlier this month. Two Paradigm unscripted agents, Julie Choi and senior agent Sean Zeid were just hired by APA as vice presidents in the agency’s Alternative & Factual Programming division earlier this month.
The speculation is somewhat understandable given those layoffs — businesses looking to sell make the books look better by trimming payroll — and Paradigm’s resistance to follow other agencies into signing a truce deal with WGA. Holding out would make a merge with one of the major agencies more palatable as the Big Four continue the standoff against WGA over packaging and ancillary production ventures.
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What makes Paradigm so attractive is its dominant music business., That was underscored by the fact that Paradigm-repped music artists got 85 Grammy nominations and won 24 of them, including the sweep by Billie Eilish.
But these things don’t square with Gores’ own words to his troops, and he has been very honest. Here is his internal e-mail:
I want to address a recent press report suggesting the potential sale of Paradigm. Let me state emphatically – we are not for sale, nor are we selling the agency.
As many of you are aware, the influx of private equity into talent agencies and the WGA stand-off, among other factors, are pushing agencies to pursue strong, diversified companies such as Paradigm.
As I have said before, we like the independent and successful path we’re on. Our focus continues to be growing Paradigm and providing the best possible opportunities for our colleagues, our artists and the art that they create.
Let’s ignore the chatter and idle speculation and stay focused on the important work at hand. I look forward to seeing you at Town Hall on Monday.
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