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Hollywood ex-agent sees studios holding sway over talent


sam-haskellIn the wake of last week’s merger between talent agencies William Morris and Endeavor, some in the movie and television industry have suggested that the deal could allow talent agents to gain some leverage over the studios who run Hollywood.

But in a column last week in show business newspaper Variety titled “Studios still hold power post-merger,” former editor-in-chief and one-time studio executive Peter Bart wrote that with their control of increasingly scarce production funds, studios can dictate deal terms to talent.

On Monday night in Los Angeles, former William Morris superagent Sam Haskell said he agrees. At an event celebrating the release of his  memoir, Haskell acknowledged that it has been a seesaw struggle over the years.

“I think it has gone back to the studios because they are the ones spending all the money (on) their projects, and they have to be certain that they’re going to make their money back before they venture it,” Haskell told Reuters.