Del brings 28 years of experience in entertainment law representing top talent and executives at major television networks, studios and emerging media companies worldwide. Del also acts as consultant to the Chairman, CEO and other senior management of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios.
Established as one of the most influential and respected figures in entertainment law, Del is the founding partner of the law firm Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano. Recently named a Power Lawyer by Hollywood Reporter, Del’s industry insights have graced the pages of publications from The Connected Lawyer to The New York Times.
Del also serves as President and member of the Board of Directors of ZeniMax Media, Inc., a videogame and new media company based in Rockville, Maryland, where he sits with fellow Board members such as renowned producer Jerry Bruckheimer and President and CEO of CBS Corporation Leslie Moonves. He is currently a member of the Los Angeles Board of Governors of the non-profit Paley Center for Media (formerly known as the Museum of Television and Radio). Del graduated with degrees in economics and political science from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his law degree from Stanford University Law School.
Biondi is currently Senior Managing Director of WaterView Advisors, a private equity fund manager specializing in media. He was chief executive officer of Universal Studios from 1996 to 1998. During his tenure there, he served on the board of directors of Universal’s parent, The Seagram Company Ltd., as well as the board of USA Networks. From 1987 to 1996, Biondi was chief executive officer of Viacom and a member of its board of directors. Earlier, he served as chairman and chief executive officer of Coca-Cola Television and chairman and chief executive officer of Home Box Office, a subsidiary of AOL Time Warner.
Biondi currently serves on the boards of Amgen, Harrah’s Entertainment, Hasbro, Cablevision and The Bank of New York. He also is a founding member of the University of Southern California’s Board of Councilors of the School of Cinema-Television and a member of the board of advisors of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.
Biondi earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University.
Peter Schlessel has had a varied and entrepreneurial career in the entertainment industry. During his 15 years at Sony Pictures Entertainment (“SPE”), his success consistently resulted in increased executive responsibilities. In 1989, he started at Columbia Pictures as Director of Legal Affairs for RCA/Columbia Home Video. He was then promoted to VP of Business Affairs for Columbia TriStar Home Video, SVP of Acquisitions and Business Affairs for the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group (“CTMPG”) and then EVP of Acquisitions, Business Affairs and Co-productions for CTMPG. In 1996, he co-founded Screen Gems, the division of SPE which finances and produces genre, mid-range budget pictures. During his tenure, he supervised over 1000 third-party acquisitions while also being responsible for overseeing the negotiations of the business affairs department, the contract administration department and the programming, marketing and distribution of the pictures acquired through all media. Under Schlessel’s supervision, revenue grew tenfold (to over $300 million dollars) for the acquisition and co-production lines of business.
In 2000, Schlessel was promoted to President of Production. Among his responsibilities were developing scripts, negotiating talent and financing deals, casting and budget controls. In the three years that he was President of Production, Columbia’s box office rank rose from #8 in 2000 to #1 in 2002 (setting a new industry record of $1.57 billion). In the beginning of 2003, Schlessel was promoted to President of Columbia Pictures. He was intimately involved with Columbia’s hits Spiderman, SWAT and The Grudge as well as the critically acclaimed Adaptation (Spike Jonze), Big Fish (Tim Burton) and Something’s Gotta Give (Nancy Meyers). Internationally, he was responsible for Columbia’s acquisition of T3: Rise of the Machines (Jonathan Mostow).
Currently, Schlessel is producing the films HALO (based on the video game), Stay Alive (starring Jon Foster, Samaire Armstrong and Sophia Bush), Bobby Z (starring Paul Walker and Laurence Fishburne) and Prey (starring Bridget Moynahan). He is consulting for a number of different companies, including Jeff Skoll’s (co-founder of eBay) Participant Productions, Mandate Pictures (The Grudge, the upcoming Stranger Than Fiction), Evolution Entertainment (Saw) and Endgame Entertainment. In addition, he is executive-producing a children’s yoga musical project entitled “The Ohmies.”
Schlessel is a graduate of Union College in Schenectady, NY and the University of Pennsylvania Law School. He began his career at the New York law firm Simpson, Thacher and Bartlett.
For more than a quarter century, James Widdoes has been crafting quality entertainment for television, the movies and on stage. As an actor, director and producer, he has brought some of the most heartwarming and memorable productions to vivid life. Today he is one of the television’s most active producers and directors, recognized by his peers, critics and the American public for an unbroken string of hit comedies.
James Widdoes began his career as an actor, who may be best remembered as Hoover in the hit film National Lampoon’s Animal House. He also starred with Scott Baio in the CBS series “Charles in Charge” and was seen in many other films and television series.
In addition, he was the recipient of the coveted Theatre World Award for his Broadway debut in the musical Is There Life After High School. He also appeared in the Broadway revival of The Caine Mutiny as well as many other New York and regional productions.
Since moving behind the camera, Widdoes has directed over 300 television episodes, including the pilots of “Dave’s World,” and “Some of My Best Friends” for CBS; “Boston Common,” “In the House,” “Something So Right,” and “The Fighting Fitzgeralds” for NBC; “Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place,” and “Brother’s Keeper” for ABC; “Getting Personal,” and “Holding the Baby” for FOX; and “Movie Stars,” “The Wayans Brothers,” “All About the Andersons” and “Reba,” starring Reba McEntire for the WB.
Widdoes has also been the Executive Producer/Director of many half-hour television shows, the most recent being “8 Simple Rules” for ABC. Others include “Dave’s World,” which ran on CBS for four seasons. This was followed by “Can’t Hurry Love,” starring Nancy McKeon, also for CBS. He has also been Executive Producer/Director of “Manhattan Man” for FOX, “Late Bloomer” for CBS, “Brother’s Keeper” for ABC, “Movie Stars” for the WB, “Some of My Best Friends” for CBS and “All About the Andersons” for the WB. He has directed numerous episodes of “The King of Queens” for CBS as well. Widdoes has also been the series director for two of the recent winners of the People’s Choice Awards for Best New Comedy, “My Wife & Kids” starring Damon Wayans and “8 Simple Rules”, for which he received a DGA Award nomination for the ‘Goodbye’ episode dealing with the death of John Ritter’s character.
Outside of the workplace, Widdoes serves on the Board of Trustees of Turningpoint School in Los Angeles, where he was the Chair for 6 years. Additionally, he is a Trustee of the Loomis-Chaffee School in Connecticut, a former Board member of Camp Dudley, the oldest boys’ camp in America, and a former member of the Head Trustee Committee of the California Association of Independent Schools.
Born and raised in New York, Schiff earned his B.F.A. in music at CalArts. Schiff began his career in the entertainment industry in 1978 at the William Morris Agency in New York. Later that year he transferred to their Beverly Hills office, where he worked as a television agent until 1984. After a two-year stint at International Creative Management, Schiff joined Creative Artists Agency, where he represented such star clients as Sean Connery, Kevin Bacon, Robert Downey Jr, Sting, Virginia Madsen and Ray Liotta.
Schiff left CAA in 1990 and joined other top agents at the startup agency Intertalent, working with clients including Kevin Bacon, Sting, Mark Wahlberg and John Travolta. In 1993, Intertalent was absorbed by United Talent Agency, and Schiff joined the agency as a partner in the talent department.
As one of Hollywood’s top talent agents at UTA, Schiff represented a diverse group of both established and up-and-coming A-list talent, including Harrison Ford, Jeff Bridges, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Danny Glover, Sharon Stone, Wesley Snipes, Bernie Mac, Sting, Ryan Phillipe, Mark Wahlberg and Liv Tyler. Schiff packaged the blockbuster Universal feature 8 MILE, starring Eminem and directed by client Curtis Hanson. Schiff also launched UTA’s modeling division with clients such as Christy Turlington and Claudia Schiffer, which has successfully developed Christy Turlington’s Nuala line and most recently Gwen Stefani’s clothing line, LAMB.
In April, Schiff left the agency world to start his own management and production company. He continues to manage actors such as Jeff Bridges, Liv Tyler, Wesley Snipes, and Ryan Phillippe, but continues to attract and represent such music talent as Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, and Pharrell Williams due to his expertise in successfully guiding cross-over career aspirations whether it be acting, fashion, video games, or product branding. Schiff also consults for and serves on the advisory board of an Internet start-up called Doppleganger.
Schiff is Co-chair of FOCA (Friends of CalArts). He also sits on the board of InnerSpark (formerly known as California State Summer School for the Arts) and is a member of the CalArts Board of Trustees.
Schiff lives in Pacific Palisades with his wife and three children.
Rich LeFurgy was previously Senior Vice President of the Buena Vista Internet Group, where he oversaw online advertising sales for ESPN.com, ABCNews.com, Disney Online, NBA.com, and NFL.com. Rich started one of the first online advertising sales organizations at Starwave in Seattle, where he helped launch ESPNSportsZone in 1995. Before Starwave, he was Executive Vice President and Senior Partner at NW Ayer & Partners in New York from 1978 to 1995. LeFurgy led integrated advertising, direct and event marketing programs for clients such as AT&T, Marriott, Folgers Instant Coffee, Gillette Right Guard, Avon, Burger King, Ralston Purina, and 7UP.
Mr. LeFurgy is a member of a number of industry associations. In the spring of 1996, he helped found the Interactive Advertising Bureau, an organization that promotes effective online advertising. He was elected as IAB Director and Chairman for five years from 1996-2001, and is currently a Director and a member of the Executive Committee. Rich also helped organize the Procter & Gamble FAST (Future of Advertising Stakeholder) Summit initiative in the summer of 1998 to help accelerate the use of digital advertising. He was Chairman of the FAST Steering Committee from 1998-2000, the successor FAST organization that is helping oversee the development of a broad range of voluntary guidelines for the industry, and is a Director of the Advertising Education Foundation as well as a former Director of the Advertising Research Foundation.
LeFurgy holds a Bachelor of Science in Advertising from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School.
Specializing in advising on strategic advertising industry relations. Former head of corporate affairs for Leo Burnett Worldwide, overseeing the agency’s worldwide profile, both within the advertising industry and the larger business and media communities domestically and internationally. Board member and advisor to Advertising Week and the AAAA.
Specializing in advising on the buy side of the advertising business. Director of Global Service Excellence, Havas Digital. Louis served as a member of the AAAA Video Innovation Committee and on the Advisory Boards of Google and Advertising.com