Verve Acquires Paul Alan Smith’s New Deal Mfg. Co.

EXCLUSIVE: Verve has acquired veteran TV lit agent Paul Alan Smith’s New Deal Mfg. Co., a boutique lit agency representing a bevy of television and film directors.

New Deal’s founding partner Smith and agent Tyler Reynolds will join Verve where they will continue to represent their clients, some of whom have been with Smith for decades. New Deal’s other founding partner, Lee Rosenbaum, who has served as chief operating officer and general counsel to the firm, will continue as an adviser to the agency.

New Deal’s clients joining Verve include Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Mr. Robot pilot), Allen Coulter (Ray Donovan pilot, Get Shorty pilot), Tawfik Abu Wael (Our Boys), Oded Ruskin (No Man’s Land, Absentia), Adam Arkin (Rebel), Milena Govich (FBI), Elodie Keene (Glee), Leslie Libman (The Manson Murders), Daniel Syrkin (Tehran), Sheelin Choksey (Stargirl), Charles Burnett (To Sleep With Anger), Reza Tabrizi (Chicago Fire), Carl Weathers (The Mandalorian), Joe Chappelle (Godfather of Harlem), and Arthur Forney (all Dick Wolf series).

“The acquisition of New Deal Mfg. Co. further continues to make Verve the most desirable home for writers and directors in film and television, ranging from the established to the up-and-coming,” said the Verve partners. “We have all worked with Paul for years, and our client-first approach to representation is as much aligned as our friendship, respect and admiration for one another.”

The New Deal pact — Verve’s first company acquisition — is part of an ongoing expansion at the agency, which began in early 2020 and has continued during the pandemic. It has included Verve launching a talent division with the addition of top TV talent agent, former WME partner Sean Grumman; establishing a New York office and theater presence with the hire of veteran theater agent Chris Till from CAA; and starting a books-to-screen team with former Chernin exec Chris Lupo. Recent hires across all areas include Noah Ballard, Davina Hefflin, Julian Cohen and Viviane Telio.

“Verve has proven time and time again to be both independent and fluid, adroitly adapting to an ever-changing marketplace while simultaneously prioritizing each client’s long-term interests,” Smith said. “Furthermore, Verve is formally dedicated to the representation of directors as a significant component of its portfolio and we are thrilled to be joining them in growing the team as the best in the business.”

New Deal’s CEO Smith started his Hollywood career in the early 1980s as an agent at Triad Artists. In 1990 he became VP of Current Programming at Lorimar TV, which later merged with Warner Brothers. In 1994, Smith returned to agenting, joining boutique lit agency BWCS, and segued to ICM when the two companies merged in 2006. In 2012, Smith left ICM to co-found with his longtime friend, attorney Rosenbaum, Equitable Stewardship for Artists (ESArtists), a unique hybrid, operating as an agency and management company. In July 2019, ESArtists was rebranded as Equitable Mgmt to function solely as a management firm. The company expanded its leadership team as Smith and Rosenbaum named four partners, including Tyler Reynolds. Five months later, the company shut down. In January 2020, Smith and Rosenbaum launched a new lit agency, New Deal Mfg. Co., specialized in representing directors, with Reynolds joining them.

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