Abrams Artists Agency Chair Adam Bold Says He Won’t Sign WGA’s Code Of Conduct; Urges Both Sides To Resume Talks

“There needs to be transparency,” he said, “and a greater sharing of fees. When you don’t know all the facts, it can at least create a question about a conflict. I can’t speak for the union, but the rank-and-file friends of mine who are writers think it should be fair and there should be transparency. When you know all the facts, it reduces that.”
The cornerstone of the Code is its ban on packaging fees and agency-affiliated production companies, which the guild says are blatant conflicts of interest to their fiduciary duty to clients.
They took a calculated bet on just being a lit agency. Their expense structure is kind of out of whack. We still have digital and influencers and voice-over artists and other parts of our business where income is coming in. “The WGA would love to make a big deal of Verve, but it actually is a company-specific situation. So I don‘t perceive this as a crack in the ATA.” At Abrams Artists Agency, we’re doing OK because we don’t have any debt and we have a diversified business. No,” Bold said in an interview. But with Verve, that’s all they had. “Will I sign the Code?
“I agree with many of the things that are in the Code that are reasonable,” Bold said, “but there are also many things in there that are not good for writers – like having to disclose how much everybody earns. We have a legal and fiduciary duty to do what’s best for our clients, but I don’t think the WGA is the appropriate body to be the supervisor of that.” Maybe you would not like your co-worker to know how much you get paid.
“The agency has not engaged in any conversations with the WGA and continues to be represented by the ATA,” he told Deadline. And now Adam Bold, the new chairman and co-owner of the Abrams Artists Agency, says he won’t sign the Code either. On Thursday, David Gersh, co-president of The Gersh Agency, denied rumors that his company might be next.
Now that Verve has signed the WGA’s Agency Code of Conduct, speculation has begun about which mid-size agency will be next to sign.
Bold, who is new to the agenting business – he was part of an investment group that bought Abrams Artists in September – said: “We want to be fierce advocates for our clients. Everything has to answer the question: Is this good for the client?”
Bold feels that all these differences can only be resolved if the WGA and the Association of Talent Agents return to the bargaining table.
“If you put your house on the market for a million dollars and a buyer offered you eight thousand dollars for it, you would not counter,” said Chris Keyser, co-chair of the guild’s negotiating committee. “We will not counter. The WGA, however, scoffed at that lowball figure but refused to say what it thought a fair share would be. We will not be bullied – not by them – not by anyone who insists that we prove, again and again, that we are open to compromise – into negotiating with ourselves.” Just before talks with the guild broke off last month, the ATA offered to share 0.8% of its packaging fees with writers.
Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, told her member-agencies Thursday: “With this move, Verve clients will be robbed of choice in their own financial decisions – their options will now be dictated by the guild. Furthermore, Verve has locked itself into a static business model that handcuffs their ability to pursue new creative opportunities for their clients in the evolving media landscape.
Why Did Writers Have To Fire Their Agents, What Is WGA’s Endgame & Other Burning Questions Addressed By Guild Chief David Goodman
Bold said that Abrams Artists has about 75 agents, but only about a dozen of them are lit agents. “I have told our lit agents that we will pay them until this is resolved,” he said.
Bold also believes that agency affiliations with related production companies can also be good for writers as long as it’s transparent. “It may give a project a better chance of being greenlit and going to series instead of being shelved,” he said. “It’s not that affiliated is evil in itself; it’s only evil if the agency is using it to their benefit and to the detriment of the client.
“We have the unique opportunity to entertain and delight and tell stories to people all over the world,” he added. And just as the writers deserve to be paid for what they do, we as agents add value to our clients’ financials and careers. “On the other hand, it’s a business. If on the other hand, a writer or an actor or director has an agent who doesn’t add value, they should fire them. Either we add value or we don’t.” We deserve to be paid for the value we provide.
WGA’s Anti-Packaging Lawsuit Against Big 4 Agencies Called “Path To Chaos” By ATA; Guild Says Other Side In “Denial&#8221
“We must remain strong and united,” she said. “Our unity speaks volumes to the WGA leadership.”
The only people who are afraid of disclosure are people who have done shady stuff. He added: “Parts of packages have been good for writers, but some have at least the appearance of a conflict, and sometimes there’s a real conflict of interest. But if you have an agency that’s only interested in what’s good for them, then you have a conflict. And the only way you can take care of that is through transparency. But there are packages where you get to put together a group of people who can collaborate and work together, who have chemistry together, which increases the odds of it being successful. Clearly, if they put together a package and the client doesn’t know what the agency is getting out of the deal, it makes you to wonder.
The agencies’ money will still come from the studio profits, not from getting writers more money. We would be leaving in place a system that has completely severed the connection between the interests of the agencies and any TV writer who is not called showrunner. And what will transparency do for TV writers who are not showrunners? Here’s the problem with stopping at transparency. First, it takes the position that as long as it’s out in the open, it’s okay that an agency that negotiates the pilot deal for its client makes the same backend as a guild member who wrote the pilot and produced 60 or 100 episodes. That’s absurd. The ATA has also offered to be more transparent about packaging fees, but transparency doesn’t cut it with the WGA. In February, WGA West president David A. Goodman said: “The agencies have floated a compromise wherein their packaging deals will be transparent and that they will never make more than the showrunner on the back end participation. And transparency does nothing for feature writers other than confirm their agency is double dipping and probably making more than they are from the film.”
Abrams Artists, unlike Verve, is a member of the Association of Talent Agents, and so far, the only ATA member agency that’s signed the Code is Pantheon, a smaller agency that doesn’t represent many writers.
Bold wouldn’t say what he thinks would be a fair share either but noted that “second-tier agencies like Abrams Artists Agency, Paradigm, APA and Gersh don’t initiate packaging. It’s not that a package is evil in itself, but if you have a bad agent, a package can be bad. The first rule of Abrams Artists is that everything has to be good for the client, and a package can be good for the client.” Eighty nine percent of packaging is done by the large agencies. We catch the wake of the big companies’ packages.
I don’t think so. “I would love to see them get back to the bargaining table,” he said. When people dig in, that’s not good for anybody, is it? “As agents, first and foremost responsibility is to do what’s best for our clients, and the WGA’s responsibility is to do what’s best for their members. They need to get back to a place where they can talk.”
“The guild shall use reasonable efforts to maintain the confidentiality of the information and such efforts shall in no event be less than the efforts the guild uses to protect its own confidential information,” the Code says. “The guild shall maintain and use such information subject to its duty of fair representation, provided that nothing…shall prohibit the guild from aggregating the data in a manner that does not disclose the confidential information of a particular writer.” The Code requires agencies to provide writers’ contracts, invoices and deal memos to the WGA and allows auditing, but the guild says that none of that information will be made available to other writers or agents.
ATA’s Stuart, meanwhile, told her members Thursday that “while the ball on negotiations remains firmly in the WGA’s court, our negotiating committee continues to meet every week, and remains committed to bringing about stability in our industry.”” />

‘AJ And The Queen’ Casts Matthew Wilkas; Christopher Naoki Lee Joins ‘The Terror’

Christopher Naoki Lee has booked a recurring role on the upcoming second season of AMC’s anthology series The Terror. Lee will next been seen in the Nic Refn Amazon series Too Old To Die Young. The Terror season two is executive produced by Ridley Scott and is an AMC Studios production, produced by Scott Free, Emjag Productions and Entertainment 360. His previous credits include Lethal Weapon, DC's Legends of Tomorrow and Amazon's Jean Claude Van Johnson. He is repped by Abrams Artists Agency and The ESI Network.” /> Co-created by Alexander Woo (True Blood), who also showruns, and Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island), the next iteration will be set during World War II and center on an uncanny specter that menaces a Japanese-American community from its home in Southern California to the internment camps to the war in the Pacific. Lee will play Ken Uehara, an outspoken young Japanese-American man from San Francisco whose affluent family is imprisoned at the same internment camp as several of the other characters.
Wilkas is repped by Jeremy Katz at the Katz Company. Officer Patrick works for the New York Police Department alongside Officer Rhonda Whyatt (Misty Monroe). He can also be seen recurring in the upcoming Netflix series Bonding, and previously appeared on HBO's Looking and ABC’s Ugly Betty. Wilkas is best known for his work in films Gayby, Top Five and Island Zero. TV. Written by King and Charles, the series stars RuPaul as Ruby Red, a bigger-than-life but down-on-her-luck drag queen who travels across America from club to club in a rundown 1990s RV with her unlikely sidekick AJ (Izzy G), a recently orphaned, tough-talking, scrappy 9-year-old stowaway. Matthew Wilkas (Top Five) is set for a recurring role on AJ and the Queen, Netflix's upcoming comedy series starring RuPaul Charles, from Charles, 2 Broke Girls co-creator and former Sex and the City showrunner Michael Patrick King and Warner Bros. Wilkas will play Officer Patrick Kennedy, a macho, gay police officer who is charming, easy going, and comfortable in his own skin.

Abrams Artists Agency Acquired By Group Including Longtime Execs, Adam Bold

Venerable entertainment talent and literary agency Abrams Artists Agency has been acquired, led by a group that includes two of the New York- and Los Angeles-based company's longtime executives Robert Attermann and Brian Cho, and entrepreneur-producer Adam Bold.
Current clients include Iain Armitage, Diane Guerrero,  Dove Cameron, Sophia Lillis, Jordan Fisher, Chandra Wilson and Sean Astin.
In March, he came on to fund Powderkeg, a digital content company created by Paul Feig that champions new voices with a commitment female and LGBTQ creators and filmmakers of color. He co-founded Grandma’s House Entertainment, which develops and produces scripted and nonscripted shows, in 2013. Bold, who takes on the role of chairman, is marking his latest entertainment-based investment via his Superbrands LLC investment company umbrella.
“We live in a time when both opportunities and pitfalls in the entertainment industry are changing rapidly because of digital trends and disruption to the traditional media landscape," said Bold, who co-founded The Mutual Fund Store, an independent investment-management company that he sold in 2016 after 19 years. "We will always be on the cutting edge of what will be most productive for our clients today, as well as whatever comes next."
He opened his L.A. branch in 1982. Abrams, who began his career in the talent agency business in 1958 in the MCA mailroom, went into business for himself by the early 1960s and eventually launched Abrams Artists Agency in New York in 1977. The company reps clients in all facets of entertainment via talent and literary divisions, along with a regarded youth-entertainment division and an alternative-and-digital-programming group.
“We are excited about the future of Abrams Artists Agency—with our partner, Adam Bold—and know that collectively we will help continue a legacy, as well as grow the business in a meaningful and profound way.” “We are indebted to Harry for the leadership and guidance he has provided us in order to see this transition through,” they said in joint statement.
"Our clients and the agents here are to be commended in helping build this company to what it is today. I know the future is bright."” /> “Abrams Artists Agency has been built on a strong ethos that the client always comes first; I know with this transition to new ownership with Robert, Brian, and Adam at the helm, that this will continue, and the next 40 years will be filled with incredible growth and opportunity," Abrams said.
His title will be founder and advisor. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Harry Abrams, who founded the company in 1977, will help guide the new team through the transition.
He will become CEO. He now becomes president and COO. Attermann, who has been at Abrams for 30 years, is currently COO and serves as co-managing director of the New York office. Neal Altman is also part of the ownership group. Both will manage day-today operations on both coasts. Cho, a 19-year company veteran, is currently CFO and managing director of the Los Angeles office.