Pilot season is a nail-biter, but Janet Carol Norton can hope this year's schedule-makers will be as kind as they were last year. Just about every person she represents as an agent at ICM was working on a network show.
Norton has an unusual specialty: She is one of few agents who represent line producers for television shows. Most agents dote on actors, showrunners and writers, but her clients hire key crew, write the budgets, scout locations and keep everything running on time.
That list includes people like John Amodeo, who produced Arrested Development in its later seasons; Harvey Frand, who produces Battlestar Gallactica for FX and worked on the pilot of The Bionic Woman; Suzy Greenberg, who produces How I Met Your Mother; and Randall Winston of Scrubs.
“Janet Carol's a unique and vital resource because she services an area of the process that is serviced by few people,” says Barry Jossen, executive VP of ABC Television Studio.
With theater degrees from Carnegie Mellon, she thought she'd be an actress, but she ended up on the other side, as a coordinator for the agency Broder Webb Chervin Silbermann.
“An agent left, and I inherited a few of her clients, who happened to be producers,” she says. “So I took that and ran with it.” Norton estimates that her clients are involved in about 40% of the pilots shot every year.
In 2006, ICM bought Broder Webb, and Norton moved from a small agency to a large conglomerate. She still defines her job in simple terms: “I understand what my clients do and how to sell them.”
At night, Norton, 36 and the mother of a 23-month-old child (her husband is Judge Joe Brown producer Brad Dumont), “reads a lot of blogs, mostly mommy blogs. All the blogs are well-written, and I've found myself looking to some of these writers to see if they are good for other projects. One of them let out that she was looking for an agent, and I did actually help hook her up.”