The coronavirus crunch has hit the talent agencies. Sources tell Deadline that Paradigm chief Sam Gores held a companywide conference call this morning to tell staffers there will be massive temporary layoffs on the order of 100 or more. There are 700 employees at the agency. We’ve heard that the number might be much higher and that a majority of employees are impacted.
The call was an emotional one, we heard, and staff was told that every effort will be made to help those impacted with health insurance and other things. And the hope is that when the world is no longer on lockdown, people will find a place at the agency sometime in the near future.
Paradigm in the past two years has found itself courted by UTA and CAA — in vicinity of $300 million, we heard — mainly because of its thriving musical touring arm. But any agency that relies on live events is seeing its revenues screech to a halt, and we are hearing that hard conversations are happening at other agencies as well to figure out how to ride out the rough period ahead. Waiting for clarity on what took place at Paradigm, but it has rocked the agency to its core, obviously.
The layoffs haven’t taken place yet; the call was to tell staff there that it was coming. But people there already are calling around trying to find a place. It is just a terrible moment to try and find another job right now.
If contracts are being breached, those agents will be able to land elsewhere. Some of this is about what happens when the misery ends and agencies pull themselves back together.
Deadline wrote earlier this week about the problems facing companies that rely on live events, from Live to AMC to WME parent Endeavor, that are heavily leveraged in debt. It is surprising to see how quickly this has come home to roost.
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