Wiliam Morris Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel has already served as the inspiration for the character in an HBO comedy — "Entourage's" hot-tempered superagent Ari Gold. But the high-powered Hollywood insider is apparently also getting involved with the premium cable network's programming choices.
Emanuel personally pitched HBO its newest pilot, which will be based on a blog written by one of his close friends Nikki …. no, not that Nikki.
Emanuel's pitch led HBO to greenlight a pilot for a comedy inspired by Nikki Joel's blog "Lifestyle Lemonaid," which features reviews, lifestyle tips and stories from her decade-long marriage to WME agent Brandt Joel.
Joel's pilot will just be about a regular family, not a married pair of movie industry power players. It will include humorous stories of marriage and parenting taken from "Lifestyle Lemonaid."
"This all kind of happened really quickly … I've been writing the blog for about a year and i guess different people were following it, Ari Emanuel was a fan and he pitched it. He brought me and Brandt into the room with the HBO people and they bought it in the room. We were so excited, so surprised, it was crazy," Joel said.
On Friday, the story about HBO picking up "Lifestyle Lemonaid" broke with a splashy Nikki Finke-penned exclusive on Deadline.com, a site that has a reputation for being Emanuel's favorite place to plant stories.
Finke's item about "Lifestyle Lemonaid" said, "Both Joels pitched the show in person to HBO along with producer Steve Levinson," but she left out Emanuel's role in the pitch meeting.
Joel declined to comment on what price HBO paid for the pilot. Ari Emanuel was not available for comment.
Nikki and Brandt Joel met while she was an agent at ICM and he was at Creative Artists Agency. Nikki Joel currently works in real estate and says she'll still be selling houses even if HBO picks up the "Lifestyle Lemonaid" pilot.
"Lifestyle Lemonaid" will be written by "Desperate Housewives" vet Jordon Nardino. The show will be produced by Nikki and Brandt Joel along with HBO exec Amy Gravitt, Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson. Both Wahlberg and Levinson are represented by, who else, Ari Emanuel.