Monday, January 7, 2019

Brown's Last Regent - Part 2

Yesterday we noted on this blog that Gov. Brown's final appointment to the Regents was Jay Sures, a Hollywood executive with some UCLA connections (he appears to be a graduate) and a political fundraiser for Democratic politicians. Exactly what the back story is on this appointment isn't clear. That is, there are other Hollywood executives with political connections: Why this one? Yours truly poked around on the web for information and there was mainly Hollywood gossip, but no answer. Below is a sampling:

The Talk of Hollywood; A Hollywood Incident Full of Sound and Furor
Just a few weeks ago Jay Sures was another brash 25-year-old Hollywood agent with fast patter, trendy wardrobe, hefty expense account and, of course, portable phones. Mr. Sures was not a powerhouse Hollywood player like Michael Ovitz, the chairman of Creative Artists' Agency, or Jeff Berg, chairman of International Creative Management. But his feistiness and energy as a television agent made him an up-and-coming player at the United Talent Agency, which represents a number of prominent actors and writers.
Suddenly Mr. Sures has replaced Dan Quayle as the subject of lunchtime dishing. And his unexpected notoriety says something about Hollywood power plays, name dropping and ambition. Even such a prominent figure as Peter Guber, chairman of the board of Sony Pictures Entertainment, is involved in the brouhaha.
The story was first revealed last week in Claudia Eller's column in Daily Variety, and has since taken on a life of its own. It has now become a kind of combination of "Saturday Night Live" and Robert Altman's scalding comedy "The Player."
It began when Mr. Sures's two Sony cellular phones started misbehaving. Instead of taking them to a repair shop, the agitated young agent sent a letter to Sony, demanding that the company replace the phones and claiming that such clients as Michael J. Fox, Alan Alda and Jason Priestley "always complain about the sound quality of these two phones."
To assure Sony that he was nothing less than an important Hollywood player, Mr. Sures casually noted that "my friend and business associate" Peter Guber, as well as Akio Morita, the head of Sony, would "be embarrassed to know that their company made products that perform so poorly." He also sent a copy of his letter to Consumer Reports.
Although the actors were said to be angry about the use of their names, no one was more outraged than Mr. Guber, who received a copy of the complaint and promptly wrote a scathing reply to Mr. Sures.
"Please erase my name from your Rolodex, and from your memory," Mr. Guber wrote. He said he was not responsible for the company's telephones, that the letter was "objectionable," and that Mr. Sures's reference to Mr. Guber as a friend and business associate "is not only incorrect but questionable as well."
"I didn't bother to call you because your telephone is probably still broken," wrote Mr. Guber, who sent copies of his letter to 22 agents at United Talent.
Within days, a contrite Mr. Sures hand-delivered an apology to Sony studios, and Mr. Guber accepted it.
The matter would have rested there, but like most funny episodes in Hollywood, there was a sequel. In recent days, a mock letter signed by "J Sures" on United Talent Agency letterhead was faxed all over town. The letter was addressed to Tom Pollock, chairman of the MCA Motion Picture Group, which is owned by Matsushita, a Sony rival. The letter may have been written by gremlims inside the agency, or by rival agents.
In it "Mr. Sures" states that his two Panasonic microwaves are no longer working. "The cooking carousel doesn't turn and my food never seems to cook -- a culinary catastrophe that has embarrassed me on more than one occasion while cooking dinner for my clients Michael J. Fox, Alan Alda and Jason Priestley," the letter said, and continued, "Most of my close and personal friends, including Peter Guber, who is almost like a father to me, can't believe that the carousel doesn't turn!"
Mr. Sures, reached at his office, said in exasperation that he did not want to talk about the letters, real or parody. But one of his bosses, Martin R. Bauer, president of the agency, said with a laugh that "the town is viewing all of this with bemusement."
"Jay has had a tough time of it," said Mr. Bauer. "We had a long talk with him. He used poor judgment. All right. But look, I sent both letters -- the real one and the fake one -- to Alan Alda and we were hysterical. You've got to have a sense of humor in these things."
Mr. Bauer said the original letter proved that Mr. Sures had the qualities that make a first-class Hollywood agent: "What makes a good agent? Aggressiveness, tenacity, intelligence and anger. And Jay has that."
Anger? "You have to be a little bit angry," said Mr. Bauer. "You can't give up when opinion goes against you. That's the dichotomy of life here. Jay's coming out of this a better man, a better agent."
Reached by noncellular phone, Mr. Guber said: "This is a good kid who'll turn out to be a really good agent. He has some chutzpah that, if he can keep it in check, will be useful to him. It was a funny incident. I don't know the kid, never met him. Of course you have to be careful about making statements that someone is your best friend, which people often do in this town. I don't think this will really affect his progress or his reputation." ...
UTA Still Struggles With Internal Discord
May 21, 1996 | CLAUDIA ELLER | LA Times
...In the last few weeks, UTA has made headlines in the Hollywood trade papers for highly public feuds with two of its young agents. The company fired maverick TV agent Gavin Polone, smearing his name in the press, then apologizing days later and giving him a payoff of more than $5 million to go away.
Then, again in the public eye, UTA filed suit against Polone protege Jay Sures when the young agent tried to get out of his contract and flee what he termed "intolerable working conditions" at the agency "which threaten my future."
Low and behold, two days later, Sures returned to the fold with a promotion he had been offered weeks earlier as the new co-head of UTA's TV department and a contract that will free him at the end of the year instead of the end of 1997...
UTA’s Sures: Give Trump a Chance
Power agent/Democrat fundraiser plans to stay involved in politics
Michael Malone, Nov 9, 2016, B+C (Broadcasting and Cable)
Jay Sures, managing director at UTA and a prominent Democratic fundraiser and activist, sounded a philosophical note following Donald Trump’s surprise win Tuesday night. Sures called the Election Day result “an incredible learning experience” that is helping him understand how GOP diehards felt when President Obama won the 2008 election and reelection four years later.
Sures—who counts a number of top-shelf TV news talents, including Norah O’Donnell and Jake Tapper, as clients—cited something another client, Glenn Beck, said about coming out on the short end of elections. “I had no idea how the other side felt when President Obama won in 2008,” Sures told B&C. “The despondency, the confusion—how upset people were at that point.”
Choosing to look on the bright side, the power agent said he looks forward to a smooth transition of power, as has been an American hallmark for centuries, and is investing hope in the president-elect. “I think we’re all obligated to give Donald Trump a chance and see what he can do,” said Sures. “As hard as it is.”
Sures says he does not envision, at least for the moment, Trump’s presidency negatively affecting business in Hollywood.
A recent inductee into B&C’s Hall of Fame, Sures vowed to immerse himself in the details of what went wrong for Hillary Clinton and other key Democrats in 2016, and how the electorate was misread. He envisions remaining a participant in politics. “I can’t imagine not being involved in some capacity,” he says.
Some have speculated that Sures may have a future in politics, which Sures has not denied. But for today, it’s a matter of processing a disappointing result.
“The people have spoken,” Sures says. “The great news is, the sun rose today, and the sun will set. Tomorrow, the sun will rise again.”
Show Starring Avenatti and Scaramucci Is Being Pitched to Television Executives
By Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, May 17, 2018, NY Times
A television show featuring Michael Avenatti, the lawyer who is suing President Trump on behalf of a pornographic film actress, and the former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was pitched to two cable networks in recent weeks, people briefed on the matter said on Thursday.
The prominent television agent Jay Sures discussed with executives at CNN and MSNBC the concept of a program where the two men would square off, according to three people briefed on the issue. Both have become frequent cable network guests — Mr. Avenatti as one of Mr. Trump’s greatest antagonists, and Mr. Scaramucci as a loyalist to the president even after flaming out after less than two weeks at the White House.
Representatives for MSNBC and CNN declined to comment, as did Mr. Sures and Mr. Scaramucci.
“I have no interest in television right now,” Mr. Avenatti said. “I enjoy my law practice and look forward to prevailing on behalf of my client Stormy Daniels,” he added, using the stage name of the actress, Stephanie Clifford. He did not respond to a question about why Mr. Sures made such a pitch involving him...

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