Ted Chervin knows a thing or two about how to thrive after a change of scenery.
Once a former U.S. attorney in New York, where he took on the Colombian drug cartels, he later turned agent for the Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann literary agency. Now Mr. Chervin has undergone another career shift, this time taking him to the role of co-head of worldwide television for one of the most powerful agencies in the business, International Creative Management.
Last year ICM purchased BWCS in a move designed to bolster the agency’s presence in the television industry, particularly among show writers and producers. The union of the two companies landed Mr Chervin, who was a partner at BWCS, in his new role as part of a shakeup of the television division at ICM.
“One key cultural value at BWCS was that all our employees channeled their energies together in order to create something that was bigger than ourselves on behalf of the client,” said Mr. Chervin. “Hopefully we can now take some of those things we did well at BWCS and apply them to a much bigger organization with a much broader reach at ICM, both culturally and with respect to specific projects.”
BWCS has been known for representing the creators and executive producers on several prime-time television shows, including “Grey’s Anatomy,” “My Name Is Earl,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “Scrubs,” “Two and a Half Men” and “King of Queens.” That crew now joins a company that boasts television behemoths that include “House,” “Dancing With the Stars” and “The Simpsons.”
“Ted and I grew up together in this business, learning the ropes, and I have always and will continue to see him as my friend,” said Pamela Fryman, executive producer and director of “How I Met Your Mother.” “He’s one of those rare people in this industry who will tell you to go home to spend time with your kids. I’ve always valued how incredibly smart he was and truly admire how he is able to keep everything in perspective.”
With new resources available at his fingertips, Mr. Chervin sees even greater opportunities for his clientele in the near future.
“ICM has their hands in everything, and being at ICM now allows me to give our clients the opportunity to find crossover situations with other departments, be it features, talent or alternative operations,” he said. “If we can pull from all of those places, you can see an enormous number of projects result from it as well as vastly increased opportunities.”
After graduating from Harvard in 1988, Mr. Chervin soon found himself embedded with police, the FBI and the DEA taking on smuggling operations as a New York prosecutor.
“My first career as an attorney was a great career unto itself,” he said. “I’m proud to have been in law enforcement, trying criminal cases, and I feel it is a great way of contributing back to the community. It was an exciting time for me. Taking on the Cali Cartel was an amazing thing to do in your twenties.
He credits some of the skills he learned as a U.S. attorney as key ingredients for his success as an agent in Hollywood.
“As an attorney, there were a lot of skills you needed to master in order to be successful in that profession,” said Mr. Chervin. “Those same skills translate strongly as an agent as well. You need organizational, communication and presentation skills. You need to learn how to get from point `A’ to point `B.’ You have to have the drive to be successful, to deal with pressure situations, and know how to strategize and how to advocate projects. The entertainment industry requires a strong ability to do each of those.”
Mr. Chervin later opted for a new challenge after meeting a writer friend in Los Angeles who introduced him to agent Elliot Webb of the Broder Kurland Webb Uffner agency. Months later, Mr. Chervin signed Ms. Fryman as well as Bill Lawrence, a writer on “Friends,” who later went on to create “Spin City” and “Scrubs.”
As an agent in an industry in perpetual transition, Mr Chervin now looks to the future, focuses on the present and keeps an eye on what’s around the corner.
“The world is changing rapidly and there are interesting things that are happening in the mobile community, on the Internet, etc.,” he said. “But in the end there are still 20 [million] to 25 million viewers who watch `Grey’s Anatomy’; 15 [million] to 20 million viewers will tune in to `Two and a Half Men.’ My focus needs to be there. After all, that is still what we are selling and what we are doing in this business.”