Counsel / Sr. Counsel, TV & Streaming Legal Affairs
New York, NY
The Business & Legal Affairs department is responsible for all business and legal matters related to the production, acquisition and pre-broadcast review of all content used worldwide by Discovery's television 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; analyses media rights associated with all programming agreements; and provides advice and counsel on a wide array of production-related, legal issues such as copyright matters, guild, insurance, and rights clearances.
The Director, Business & Legal Affairs position will be based in our New York, NY; Silver Spring, MD; or Knoxville, TN office and will be responsible for independently handling deal negotiations, the drafting and review of agreements, and management of the deal 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, celebrities, experts, families, etc.) across Discovery's networks, with a focus on HGTV and Food Network. The Director will also provide advice on content-related legal issues for a wide variety of production and programming transactions.
• Assume responsibility from start to finish for project/deal negotiations and preparation of contracts for developing, producing, financing, and/or acquiring television programming for Discovery's networks.
• Negotiate all business and legal terms with producers' 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.
• Independently draft and/or review development, commission, co-production, acquisition, and other related agreements.
• 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
• 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.
• Advise and support senior network executives and internal business units (including production management, finance, standards and practices, digital, marketing, consumer products/licensing, publicity, and ad sales on production and key talent business and legal
issues including risk management, general labor/guild issues (SAG-AFTRA, DGA and WGA), defamation, copyright, trademark, right of publicity, music, advertising and other related issues.
• Review and draft ancillary production related documents such as access agreements, format licenses, participant releases, and consultant agreements.
• Assume accountability for deals under tight timelines while acquiring appropriate rights within budgetary parameters.
• 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 or within the entertainment practice of a law firm. Preferred experience with a cable or broadcast television network, studio, or production company.
• J.D. degree from an ABA-accredited law school and admission to a state bar.
• Knowledge of television programming and talent agreements and/or cable industry.
• 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
Discovery, Inc. is the global leader in real life entertainment. We serve passionate fans with content that inspires, informs, and entertains, providing leadership across deeply loved and trusted brands, such as Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, HGTV, Food Network, and Travel Channel.