December 7 – December 14, 2006 Edition

Warner Cancels Ovitz

Biography, Finke Gets

New Literary Agent

NEW YORK, NY/12/7/06—Alice Martell, The Martell Agency, has picked up Nikki Finke’s long-awaited biography of Hollywood mogul Michael Ovitz for representation only days after the book deal was cancelled by Warner/Hachette Book Group’s imprint, Twelve and will soon begin shopping the work around. The book, titled The Man Who Wanted Everything, was originally sold to Warner by Andrew Blauner and schedule for publication in July 2007. Twelve’s editor Jonathan Karp has not commented on why the book was cancelled at Warner.

Michael Ovitz is the former talent agent and Hollywood powerhouse who served as head of Creative Artists Agency for 20 years, until 1995. Ovitz is also well-known for negotiating David Letterman’s move from NBC to CBS, and for discovering the action star Steven Seagal. In 1995, he resigned from CAA to become president of the Walt Disney Company under chairman Michael Eisner. Fourteen months later he was dismissed by Disney’s board of directors and received $38 million in cash and $100 million in stocks as severance pay. At one point he claimed that his downfall and subsequent failure of another company, Artists Management Group, had been manipulated by a Hollywood group he called the “gay mafia.” Ovitz is currently a private investor and advisor to celebrities such as David Letterman, Tom Clancy and Martin Scorsese.

Journalist Finke reportedly has not completed the book which has been in the works for more than 15 years. She has been the “Deadline Hollywood” columnist for LA Weekly since June 2002, writing about the business, politics and culture of the infotainment industry. In March 2006, she began which she writes, edits and owns. Her career in journalism has included years as an AP foreign correspondent in Moscow and London, Newsweek correspondent in Washington D.C. and Los Angeles, and Los Angeles Times staff writer covering entertainment and features. From 1995 through 2000, she was West Coast Editor and Hollywood columnist first for the New York Observer and then for New York Magazine.

Twelve is a new imprint of Warner Books, a division of Hachette Book Group, releasing its first titles this year. The imprint publishes a highly selective list of fiction and non-fiction focusing on only one book a month with the goal of releasing about 12 titles per year. The unit may finish 2006 year with only ten titles rather than twelve. A second title, The Process: A Director’s Life by Robert Altman, may also not be published, following Altman’s death in November.

Warner Books is now a division of Hachette Book Group USA (HBG) which was created when Hachette Livre, a French publishing company, acquired Time Warner Book Group from Time Warner in 2006. Hachette Livre is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Lagardère, a company that is active on a worldwide basis in the areas of communications and media (books, press, audiovisual and distribution/retailing of cultural products).