John Michael Fogelman (born c. 1965) is an American entrepreneur. He is the CEO of FactoryMade Ventures, an entertainment and media incubator. Formerly Executive Vice President and Head of the Motion Picture Department and the Intellectual Property Group at the William Morris Agency (WMA), Fogelman was a principal architect of the merger between William Morris and Endeavor Talent Agency, and served as a founding board member and an agent after the companies merged in 2009. He left William Morris Endeavor in 2011 to found FactoryMade.
Early life and education
Fogelman was born and grew up in Los Angeles. In high school, he worked for his uncle, Louis Fogelman, a co-founder of the retail music chain Wherehouse Entertainment and the founder of Music Plus.
Fogelman attended Tulane University and the University of Southern California and graduated with a BS in Accounting. He subsequently earned a CPA in California. He graduated from the UCLA Anderson School of Management with an MBA in 1992. While at UCLA, he and his colleagues created the Disc Lift, a CD-ROM device. After the patent was awarded, Fogelman built IAF Enterprises, a company which provided the infrastructure to market and support the device.
William Morris Endeavor
Fogelman—who also worked as an auditor at KPMG Peat Marwick—began his agency career at Triad Artists Agency shortly before the company was bought by William Morris. In 1994, after training in WMA's storied mailroom program, he was promoted to a position as a talent agent. Fogelman was named Head of the Motion Picture Talent Department in 2000, and in 2003 was appointed to the WMA Board of Directors. In 2004 he became the Executive Vice President and Head of the Motion Picture Department. Fogelman played a significant role in the 2009 merger of WMA and Endeavor, and was a founding board member for the newly-formed company, William Morris Endeavor, where he continued to oversee the Strategic Planning and Development Group.
As an agent, Fogelman represented J.J. Abrams, Michael Bay, Courteney Cox Arquette, Whoopi Goldberg, Kevin Spacey, Salma Hayek and Eric Bana as well as corporate clients including Hasbro and HSN. As one of the first film executives to capitalize on the market for toy-driven feature films, Fogelman helped establish the concept of "toyetic" in movie making. Described as a film which can lend itself to a toy and sell tickets and merchandise, Fogelman was noted for his toyetic work with Hasbro by the Wall Street Journal, who referred to him as “Mr. Potato Head’s agent.” Fogelman’s projects for Hasbro included the packaging and development of the GI Joe series, and Battleship movies, as well as the Transformers films, which generated more than $380 million in revenue for Hasbro's Transformer products in the year following its release. Fogelman's group also created and brokered several Hasbro films for Universal Pictures. Additionally, with Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, he advised and negotiated the formation of a joint venture between Hasbro and Discovery Communications, and engineered the rebranding of Discovery Kids as The Hub as well as the launch of its website, which featured content built around some of Hasbro's brands. He also helped to build the framework for J.J. Adams' Bad Robot Productions, Michael Bay's Bay Films and Platinum Dunes.
In March 2011 Fogelman resigned from WME and launched FactoryMade Ventures, a development and consulting firm and incubator. Focusing on entertainment and media for digital and mobile platforms and cable and network television in the US and emerging markets, the company included the former Strategic Planning & Business Development unit at WME, known as the “skunkworks” unit, which continued to be led by Cristina Patwa, who was named co-CEO at FactoryMade. At launch, FactoryMade announced initial alliances with Telefonica, Hasbro, RTL Group, Michael Bay, Robert Rodriguez, Thom Beers and Whoopi Goldberg, in addition to J.J. Abrams, who was then a principal investor. Abrams withdrew from the company in January 2012, reportedly due to his schedule, which did not allow for the extensive involvement in FactoryMade that had been planned. In November 2014, Mitsui & Co., Japan’s second-largest general trading company, purchased a minority stake in FactoryMade.
El Rey Network
In December 2013, FactoryMade partnered with Robert Rodriguez to create the El Rey network, an English language American television channel targeting Latino audiences. Backed by Univision Communications, El Rey is available on Comcast, DirecTV, Charter Communications, Cox Cable and Time Warner Cable. In addition to distributing reality, scripted, and animated series, movies, documentaries, news, music, comedy and sports content, El Rey produced Rodriguez' original series From Dusk Til Dawn, 10 episodes of which premiered in 2013. The series was picked up for an additional 13 episodes in March, 2014. El Rey’s second original scripted series, Matador, premiered on the network in July 2104. The first episode was directed by Rodriguez.
In early 2014, El Rey announced that the company would team with Mark Burnett to launch Lucha Underground, an hour-long weekly professional wrestling series featuring wrestlers from the American independent circuit and Asistencia Asesoría y Administración (AAA). Lucha Underground, described by the Los Angeles Times as "combining a gritty cinematic crime film setting with the traditional superhero feel of lucha libre," premiered in October 2014. Fogelman serves as an executive producer.
Fogelman and his wife, Sherri, have three children. From 2004 to 2012, he served on the board of directors for Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA. With Sherri, Fogelman established the Elsie and Isaac Fogelman Chair in the Division of Pediatric Neurology in the Department of Pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. He is an active member of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple.