In 1981 Hookstratten won our Quinella of the Year Award for negotiating Tom Brokaw's move off NBC's Today show and onto the network's Nightly News and Bryant Gumbel out of NBC Sports and onto Today. Frank won last year's Quinella by obtaining a lucrative play-by-play contract for NBC's Bob Costas, while Len Berman, another of Frank's clients, eased onto the very NFL '82 show for which Costas reportedly had been chosen. Costas says it was his decision, not Frank's, to pass up NFL '82 for play-by-play.
Frank and Rosen, whose partner is Clarence Cross, a former CBS executive, sometimes wind up in the awkward position of conferring with a client for a client. One of Rosen's people, Mike Weisman, just became executive producer of NBC Sports, a position that puts him in control of all production and announcing assignments. Rosen may eventually have to lobby Weisman for a better football assignment for an NBC director who's also a Rosen client.
Since agents began blanketing sports TV in the mid-1970s, an informal salary scale has evolved. A front-line announcer like John Madden might make $300,000 a year, sources say, while more senior luminaries such as Brent Musburger, Summerall and Enberg go for more than $700,000. Ranking producers and directors like Grossman or Nathanson are said to earn $150,000 to $400,000. All of Cosell's TV, radio and outside work, sources agree, could bring him more than the $1.6 million per annum Dan Rather is said to make.
For the agent, 10% of enough $250,000 paychecks comes to a nice piece of change. But in truth, the hunt may be half the fun. "Ah, the nefarious webs we weave," says one of the Big Three with a chuckle.