The Business & Legal Affairs department is responsible for all legal matters related to the development, acquisition, distribution and pre-broadcast review of all content used worldwide by DCL’s television and digital networks. More specifically, this group negotiates and drafts acquisition, commission, co-production, and talent agreements; reviews scripts and rough cuts of programs prior to broadcast in order to minimize legal exposure; analyzes media rights associated with all programming agreements and responds to usage requests made by the company’s many lines of businesses; and provides advice and counsel on a wide array of network matters such as production and talent related legal issues, insurance, and rights clearances.
The Director, Business & Legal Affairs position will be based in our Los Angeles, California office and will be responsible for independently handling deal negotiations and the drafting and review of agreements for the development, production and distribution of documentary and non-scripted reality television programming, including the agreements for lead and supporting talent (e.g., hosts, experts, narrators, families, celebrities, etc.) across Discovery’s networks, with a focus on TLC. The Director will also provide advice on content-related legal issues for a wide variety of production and programming transactions and will be responsible for handling ongoing deal management responsibilities throughout the life of talent’s business relationships with the company.
1. Assume responsibility for project/deal negotiations and preparation of documentation for developing, producing, financing, and/or acquiring television programming for Discovery’s networks.
2. Negotiate all business and legal terms with producer’s lawyers and agents or other representatives, including standard terms and conditions, back-end participation and ancillary deal components such as the licensing and granting of rights.
3. Independently draft and/or review development, commission, co-production, acquisition, and other related agreements.
4. Negotiate and draft all terms of a variety of talent deals including, but not limited to, series deals, pilot-to-series deals, test-option deals, holding deals, ad sales talent integration deals, brand influencer deals, licensing deals, event releases, and overall services agreements with business and legal terms including exploitation and promotional rights, exclusivity, options, back-end participation, endorsement services, and all other applicable talent deal terms customary to the entertainment industry.
5. Manage all aspects of the provision of personal services to Discovery throughout the life of the talent deal, including oversight of all business transactions between the talent and the Discovery units that utilize talent’s services.
6. Advise and support senior network executives and internal business units (including ad sales, standards and practices, digital, marketing, production management, consumer products/licensing and publicity on production and key talent business and legal issues including risk management, general labor/guild issues (AFTRA, SAG, DGA and WGA), copyright, trademark, right of publicity, music, advertising and other related issues.
7. Review and draft ancillary production related documents such as access agreements, format licenses, participant releases, and consultant agreements.
8. Assume accountability for deals under tight timelines while acquiring appropriate rights within budgetary parameters.
9. Manage business practices in concert with network editorial/creative and production management.
* Experience working in-house in the business affairs or legal department of an entertainment company. Preferably a cable or broadcast television network, studio, or commensurate transactional experience in the entertainment division of a law firm.
* Strong academic credentials from an ABA-accredited law school required and California Bar admission preferred.
* Knowledge of television programming and talent agreements and/or cable industry required.
* Knowledge of defamation, privacy, and copyright laws.
* Excellent writing, organizational, and interpersonal skills, including clear and effective written and verbal communication skills.
* Creative, business-friendly approach to problem solving and the ability to provide high-quality legal support in a fast-paced environment are vital.
* Relationships with entertainment attorneys, talent agents, talent managers and talent publicists along with a working knowledge of union and guild issues a plus.
* Applicants must be industrious and self-motivated with demonstrated ability to take initiative, make firm decisions, manage projects, and offer a high level of customer service in a fast-paced environment.
* Excellent people skills and ability to develop and maintain productive working relationships with internal and external partners
* Excellent business and legal judgment.
* Experience with Microsoft Word, Excel and other software applications required.
* Must have the legal right to work in the United States