Williams & Connolly and Loeb & Loeb have landed assignments representing some big name clients this week, with the latter helping Arsenio Hall return to late night TV, and the former advising Ann Curry in connection with her looming exit from NBC’s Today show and New York Knicks star Jeremy Lin in his contract talks with the team.
Almost 20 years after The Arsenio Hall Show went off the air, its namesake host is poised to return to the small screen with a nightly syndicated program beginning in September 2013 on 17 select CBS stations. CBS predecessor Paramount produced the comedian’s previous foray into late night that ran from 1989 to 1994.
Scott Zolke, a media and entertainment partner at Am Law 200 firm Loeb & Loeb in Los Angeles, is advising Octagon Entertainment Productions as producing partner with Arsenio Hall Communications on the project. CBS is partnering with several Tribune Broadcasting stations for the new show. Tribune handled its portion of the deal in-house.
Zolke helped negotiate Octagon’s production agreement, according to a statement released by Loeb & Loeb, which has deep Hollywood ties. (The firm did due diligence work for private equity firm TPG Capital on its purchase of a 35 percent stake in the Creative Artists Agency in 2010.) Zolke is also part of a Loeb & Loeb team advising Joe and Gavin Maloof, the billionaire brothers who made their fortune in the entertainment business before buying the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, which they are now trying to move
Hall, 56, recently found his way back to the spotlight by winning NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice in May. Nina Shaw and Gordon Bobb of Los Angeles–based Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano, a prominent entertainment industry firm, are representing Hall on his new TV deal.
Another Am Law 100 firm known for its media and entertainment work (as well as its political prowess),  Washington, D.C.–based Williams & Connolly, has added two more names to its roster of high-profile clients.
Today show co-anchor Ann Curry has reportedly turned to W&C partner Robert Barnett to advise her on negotiations with NBC executives about ending her tenure at the morning TV program and shifting into another role at the network.
Barnett, a veteran Beltway power broker and lawyer to the nation’s media and political establishment, is also the husband of CBS News correspondent Rita Braver. Barnett has advised dozens of journalists, such as ABC’s Christiane Amanpour, on contractual negotiations, and brokered a bevy of book deals, including the reported $1.25 million advance he snagged for Sarah Palin back in 2009. Two years ago, Barnett and W&C advised on the $1 sale of Newsweek prior to the venerable magazine’s merger with the Daily Beast.
Fellow W&C partner James Tanner Jr. whose star-studded client list includes NBA players Ray Allen, Shane Battier, Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, Hidayet Turkoglu, and Thaddeus Young, as well as WNBA stars Alana Beard and Tamika Catchings, has now added Jeremy Lin to that group, according to a report by Bloomberg. ( The New York Times’s Peter Lattman beat us to the punch Thursday in noting W&C’s concurrent roles for Curry and Lin.)
Lin said in a statement that Tanner and W&C “are the best fit for me in all aspects of my career.” Tanner will work with Lin’s current San Antonio–based agent, Roger Montgomery, as he negotiates a new contract for his client with the Knicks and potentially lucrative sponsorship deals through Lin’s role as the NBA’s first Asian American player.
Earlier this year, Arent Fox represented Lin in his attempt to obtain and preserve his own trademark, as some medicinal marijuana dispensaries also sought to cash in on the “Linsanity” catchphrase. Lin prevailed in that effort last month when the Patent and Trademark Office officially awarded “Linsanity” to Lin, as well as all other Lin-related trademarks.
While Arent Fox, like W&C, is based in D.C., it has the distinction of having a sandwich named after the firm on the menu at one notable New York deli near the home court of Lin’s Knicks.
Nonetheless, it is Tanner—who studied under President Barack Obama at the University of Chicago Law School and is perennially ranked as one of the country’s top up-and-coming sports lawyer—who will team up with the Harvard-educated Lin in the point guard’s push to get paid up to $5 million a year by the Knicks.