FOR THE FIRST RESPONDERS: The last time we experienced a national emergency even close to this was on 9/11—which was almost 20 years ago, amazingly. Once again, the sense of loss and peril is mitigated by a collective spirit of engagement and support, visible everywhere and particularly in our community. We abide and do our best to lift spirits, as music always does.

We salute the first responders in the medical community, soldiering on despite grim circumstances and insufficient resources—and all the professionals delivering vital services as best they can.

This despite the ongoing nightmare of our President’s bungling and deceit and that of fellow idiots like Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, who claimed to have just learned in April that asymptomatic people could spread the virus—even though this was public knowledge for months—and who forced the state’s beaches to reopen at the height of the pandemic.

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: The return home of Sir Lucian Grainge, who announced in a companywide memo on 4/6 that he was on his way to a full recovery after a bout with COVID-19, provided a much-needed dose of uplifting news for the biz. Sir Grainge’s return—which he marked with a gracious companywide message—is yet another reminder of how important his leadership has been and will continue to be. We were delighted to hear that he arrived at home in time for the breaking of the matzo.

SECRET AGENTS: Drama and uncertainty continue to swirl around Paradigm as the controversial Sam Gores maneuvers to save the agency. Attempting to mitigate the disastrous optics of his pandemic-motivated firings and salary cuts, he made headlines by announcing plans for a relief fund, extending health care for staff and foregoing his own salary for the year. Gores’ billionaire brothers, Tom and Alec (the heads of Platinum Equity, with estimated net worth of $5.7b, per Forbes, and Gores Group, estimated net worth of $2b, respectively) may help steer the company past the financial rocks. But can he keep his top agents in house? Is he in breach, allowing them to look elsewhere? Will he be able to renegotiate their deals?

The buzz that Marty Diamond, AM Only founder Paul Morris and Paradigm Nashville head Jonathan Levine are hatching a plan to launch their own agency was gaining traction last week. Still sitting in the wings are ICM, UTA’s Jeremy Zimmer and CAA’s Rob Light, who are keen to pick up agents from Paradigm and the beleaguered WME. Dissatisfaction is sky-high at the latter agency, especially after Ari Emanuel’s floated “voluntary” pay cuts, along with agents’ equity pieces being devalued and suddenly not redeemable as promised. Agents there already took salary reductions in expectation of an IPO that never materialized and were told they’d be able to sell 20% of their equity (based on a valuation of $3.4b) back to the company. With every tour on earth postponed, that plan went out the window.

The elephant in the room is that every agent involved is lawyering up to see if employment contracts have been breached. This undoubtedly will be a big story moving forward.

TAGS: I.B. Bad