Top five entertainment industry people we’d love to meet.

Our industry is full of talented leaders and innovative people who have helped shape our industry into what it is today. We’ve compiled a list and included a short bio of the top 5 people that we would love to meet from artists to the business people in entertainment.

1.) Michael Ovtiz

Michael Ovitz

Michael Ovitz

Ovitz is often referred to as Hollywood’s most powerful agent in his reign at CAA. Ovitz founded Creative Artists Agency in 1975 along with fellow William Morris Agents Ron Meyer, Bill Haber, Rowland Perkins, and Mike Rosenfeld. Borrowing only $21,000 from a bank,the agents rented a small office, conducting business on card tables and rented chairs, their wives taking turns as agency receptionist.

Under Ovitz’s direction, CAA quickly grew from a start-up organization to the world’s leading talent agency, expanding from television into film, investment banking, and advertising. Ovitz was known for assembling “package deals”, wherein CAA would utilize its talent base to provide directors, actors and screenwriters to a studio, thus shifting the negotiating leverage from the studios to the talent. As CAA rose in stature Ovitz became one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. Promoted to President, then later to Chairman of the Board, his roles at CAA were numerous. He served as talent agent to Hollywood actors such as Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, and Barbra Streisand, as well as directors such as Steven Spielberg, Barry Levinson, and Sydney Pollack. Ovitz also provided corporate consulting services, helping negotiate several major international business mergers and deals including Matsushita’s acquisition of MCA/Universal, the financial rescue of MGM/United Artists, and Sony’s acquisition of Columbia Pictures. His signing of Coca-Cola as a CAA client from agency McCann-Erickson had a significant impact on the advertising industry. He is also well known for negotiating David Letterman’s move from NBC to CBS, chronicled in the book The Late Shift: Letterman, Leno, and the Network Battle for the Night by Bill Carter.

2.) Bernie Brillstein

Bernie Brillstein

Bernie Brillstein

Brillstein formed The Brillstein Company in 1969. There, he continued to manage stars and develop television programming. He produced such popular television hits as Hee Haw, The Muppet Show and Saturday Night Live.

Brillstein later became manager of SNL alums Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Martin Short, and Lorne Michaels, as well as Jim Henson (of Muppets fame) andPaul Fusco (voice and operator of ALF). He produced such other television shows as Alf: The Animated Series, and Normal Life. He was also exclusive producer to the animation sequel The Real Ghostbusters (based on the hit movie).

In the 1980s, he met Brad Grey at a television convention in San Francisco, California. In 1991 the two formed a production company, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which packages programming and manages talent. They were responsible for both The Larry Sanders Show and The Sopranos for HBO. As executive producer, Brillstein has been responsible for such successes as The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Dragnet, Ghostbusters II, Happy Gilmoreand The Cable Guy. Brillstein sold his shares in the company to Grey, his one time protégé, in 1996. Grey sold his interest in the company in 2005.

Brillstein’s 1999 memoir, Where Did I Go Right?: You’re No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead, was co-written with David Rensin. Two years later, he received the honor as recipient of a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, on April 18, 2001.

3.) Ari Emanuel

Ari Emanuel

Ari Emanuel

Ariel “Ari” Zev Emanuel is the real life figure of the character portrayed in “Entourage”, Ari Gold. He’s an American talent agent and co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor (WME), a leading entertainment and media agency. He was a founding partner of the Endeavor Agency and was instrumental in shaping its June 2009 merger with the William Morris Agency.

Prior to founding Endeavor, Emanuel was a partner at InterTalent and senior agent at International Creative Management (ICM).He began his entertainment industry career as an agent trainee at Creative Artists Agency (CAA).

Emanuel has been written about as a “21st century Hollywood mogul” and “the pre-eminent power player” in Hollywood. Emanuel and WME co-CEO Patrick Whitesell have been characterized as “rewriting the Hollywood script,” and they have been named to Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year list.

Emanuel’s special relationship with his clients coupled with his stature in the industry has led to various homages and parodies over the years, including Bob Odenkirk’s character Stevie Grant on The Larry Sanders Show, and Ari Gold, played by Jeremy Piven on the HBO television show Entourage

4.) Michael Eisner

Michael Eisner

Michael Eisner

After two brief stints at NBC and CBS, Barry Diller at ABC hired Eisner as Assistant to the National Programming Director. Eisner moved up the ranks, eventually becoming a senior vice president in charge of programming and development. In 1976, Diller, who had by then moved on to become chairman of Paramount Pictures, recruited Eisner from ABC and made him president and CEO of the movie studio. During his tenure at Paramount, the studio turned out such hit films as Saturday Night Fever, Grease, the Star Trek film franchise, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Beverly Hills Cop, and hit TV shows such as Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Cheers and Family Ties.

Diller left Paramount in 1984, and, as his protégé, Eisner expected to assume Diller’s position as studio chief. When he was passed over for the job, though, he left to look for work elsewhere and later became CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

5.) Mitch Hedburg

Mitch Hedburg

Mitch Hedburg

One of my personal favorite comedians of all time was Mitch Hedburg. He had a delivery method to his punch lines that most artists couldn’t emulate. Hedberg began his stand-up career in Florida, and after a period of honing his skills moved to Seattleand began to tour. He soon appeared on MTV’s Comikaze, followed by a 1996 appearance on Late Show with David Letterman which brought him his big break. He won the 1997 grand prize at the Seattle Comedy Competition. The following year he appeared in one episode of Fox’s series That 70’s Show.

In 1999 he completed his own independent feature film Los Enchiladas!, in which he wrote, directed, produced, and starred. He recorded three comedy CDs entitled Strategic Grill Locations, Mitch All Together, and Do You Believe in Gosh?, which was released posthumously. He also appeared at the Montreal Just For Laughs comedy festival in 1998 and 2001. According to Hedberg there had been talk of creating a TV series around him, but plans never came to be.

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