Mayor Rahm Emanuel will get a brief break from his troubles in Chicago thanks to a star in the vast constellation of brother Ari Emanuel.
When news broke that Emanuel will go to New York to be a guest on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” on Monday, I couldn’t help but immediately suspect Colbert is one of the many entertainers who make gobs of money for uber-agent (and Uber investor) Ari Emanuel.
Well, sure enough, what could seem like a cynical question yielded just the answer I suspected: Ari Emanuel’s massive Endeavor talent agency owns the company that manages Colbert’s career.
Ari Emanuel is the chief executive of Beverly Hills-based Endeavor (which recently changed its name from WME-IMG). A couple years ago, Endeavor acquired New York-based Dixon Talent, which represents Colbert.
As with CNN’s fawning “Chicagoland” series — which starred Rahm Emanuel and his then-loyal top cop Garry McCarthy during Emanuel’s first term — the mayor is again benefitting from people who are financially connected to his little brother.
Clients of Ari Emanuel directed CNN’s 2014 homage to Rahm and Garry. Before that show aired, the directors promised to be so fair and balanced that Mayor Emanuel would be irked.
The final result was virtually a propaganda film, with Emanuel and McCarthy portrayed like urban superheroes.Emails later revealed the show’s producers privately coordinated scenes with mayoral aides and even promised to present Emanuel as “the star that he really is.”
As for the trip to the Ed Sullivan Theater for the mayoral appearance on Colbert’s show, City Hall spokesman Adam Collins told me Friday that the business ties between the show’s host and the guest’s brother had “nothing to do with it at all.”
“I don’t know if it would matter if it did,” Collins said. “They reached out to us.”
He said a producer for Colbert sent him an email in October, inviting Emanuel to come to New York because the show’s staff had seen an article in the Chicago Tribune about the mayor’s podcast and “thought it would be cool” to invite him to talk about it and about Colbert’s time in the Chicago area. Colbert got his start performing at The Second City.
Collins noted that Colbert and Emanuel have been joking around since the days when Colbert still was on Comedy Central. That was long before Emanuel returned from his high-profile posts in Washington to run for mayor.
“This is a silly thing, to criticize the mayor for doing a TV interview,” Collins said. “But you spend your ink on whatever you want.”
Collins also thought it was “kind of a dumb question” when I asked if going to New York to be on the show was the best use of the mayor’s time, given all of the demands on him at home.
“He’ll have some other meetings with corporate leaders while he’s out there,” Collins said.
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An Endeavor spokesman on Friday confirmed Colbert is a client of Dixon Talent, but Dixon Talent did not return messages seeking comment on Rahm Emanuel’s appearance with Colbert.
A spokeswoman for CBS, the network that airs Colbert’s show, had no interest in elaborating on why they would want the mayor of Chicago on their show.
“So you’re aware, we don’t comment on our booking process,” said the spokeswoman, Lauren Kamm. “Photos of the mayor’s appearance will be available on Monday evening and the full clip of the interview will post on The Late Show’s YouTube page on Tuesday morning.”
We local yokels also can tune in to CBS-Channel 2 at 10:35 p.m. Monday. The mayor is scheduled to appear between Oscar winner Matt Damon and Colombian musician Juanes.
Emanuel should hope he gets glowing reviews in Beverly and other neighborhoods of his city — and not just in Beverly Hills.