A TALENT AGENT WHO HIT THE BIG TIME WITH 'QUEER EYE'

Michael Flutie Now Matches Stars and Product Deals

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Who: Michael Flutie, the 45-year-old founder of MFO (Michael Flutie Office), a firm that reps talent in the fashion, lifestyle and beauty segments, and consults on media and marketing programs.
Michael Flutie, the talent agent who represents two of the 'Queer Eye' Fab Five.



Credentials: Mr. Flutie ran a modeling agency, Company, discovering the likes of James King and Alexis Bledel (the WB's Gilmore Girls) before setting up his new company two years ago.

What was his big break? The success of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy on Bravo, which catapulted his clients Thom Filicia and Kyan Douglas to national fame. The blockbuster first season of the series helped Mr. Flutie negotiate a deal with Pier One for design expert Mr. Filicia, who replaced Kirstie Alley as the company spokesman.

What are you currently doing in the Madison & Vine space? Mr. Flutie recently created a production company called MadWood -- a contraction of Madison Avenue and Hollywood. The company set up a daytime pilot at ABC called I Love This! destined for a fall 2005 start. The series features product recommendations by experts in their fields. The host and co-producer is Harper's Bazaar contributing editor and fashion consultant Mary Alice Stephenson, whose clients include Liv Tyler and Beyonce.

Who are you working with when it comes to M&V projects? Mr. Flutie is connecting his firm's talent to companies such as Xerox, Intel, GNC, L'Oreal and Revlon. Xerox is working with Mr. Flutie on business makeover projects, for example. When it comes to using celebrities as spokespeople, "[celebrities] shy away from using their own intellectual properties," said Mr. Flutie, who thinks stars are more likely to invest themselves in marketing campaigns if they've had a hand in creating them. "An athlete is a star for their abilities. An actor has to make you believe he's someone else." That's an issue if you're trying to match brand attributes to an actor, whose job is to perform many roles. "You have to partner an actor with a product that truly represents that actor. Uma [Thurman] selling LVMH makes a lot of sense; Uma selling Pringles doesn't."

Do brands always seek out your clients or do you have to go to the brands? Working with Mr. Douglas, Mr. Flutie said that rather than wait for a call, he sought out marketers and engineered his own deals. Mr. Douglas is now L'Oreal's first spokesman for all products.

What's your most valuable skill? "I'm a great scheduler. It's a big part of what I do. Relationships with your clients, the public appearances, it's all scheduling." Mr. Flutie also prides himself on his ability to follow through on the plan, providing public relations support to his clients.

What's your ultimate ambition: "Ultimately, the recognition that I made a difference in the world to the people I represent and that I made a difference to the clients I introduced them to."

Secret luxury indulgences: Men's Prada and La Maison du Chocolate.

Most accomplished relative: His father was a photographer, based in Lebanon, for UPI.