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Deals in the News

Two multi-talented creatives made news yesterday, meaning several multi-tasking reps were busy on the phones. Seth MacFarlane, long known as the guy who created Family Guy, was announced as the host of the 85th Academy Awards ceremony. MacFarlane is in the unusual position of being a notable brand without face recognition -- such is the case when your greatest achievements come through animation. However, the tide really shifted in his favor this summer, when Ted, the feature film he wrote, directed and, yes, voiced became the break-out comedy hit of the summer. Mark Wahlberg provided the human counterpart to MacFarlane's foul-mouthed teddy bear, and the film went on to gross over $400M worldwide. Trusting that MacFarlane in person will deliver more of what audiences love in his voice (he has made a number of well-received live comedy appearances), Academy Award producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron hired him for the gig. MacFarlane is represented by the extremely powerful WME TV division, where his point is Greg Hodes. Hodes and team, along with manager John Jacobs at Smart Entertainment, have been very shrewd in positioning MacFarlane to make the leap from cult phenomenon to globally recognized personality.

Danny Strong's career has been equally unconventional. To an entire generation, he is Jonathan, part of the triumvirate of evil-doing nerds from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and his career might have peaked there but for two things: his interest in politics and his innate gifts as a writer. His script Recount, which told the story of the 2000 presidential election recount in Florida and was produced by HBO Films, won him his first Emmy nomination as a screenwriter. Game Change, another HBO Films production, chronicled Sarah Palin's rise to prominence in 2008, and won him two Emmys last month (as writer and co-executive producer). Fresh off the Game Change victory, Strong has now landed his biggest gig of any sort: adapting the novel Mockingjay for the two part finale to the Hunger Games series. Doubtless he's been in the running for jobs of this sort before, but kudos to agent Risa Gertner at CAA and manager Lindsay Williams at Gotham Group for completing the transformation of Danny Strong-the-guy-from-Buffy to Danny Strong-the-A-List-screenwriter.