In the business of shaping entertainment: Allison Brightman
Julie Riggott • January 11, 2023
Allison Brightman (JD 1992) serves as Executive Vice President and Co-Head of Business Affairs for CBS Studios
As the television industry undergoes tremendous change, Allison Brightman (JD 1992), part of the business affairs team at CBS Studios since 2006, has seen her job responsibilities shift considerably. But that’s all right with her — as she says, “I love strategizing.”
“The entire industry — really every industry — is going through especially trying times,” says Brightman, VP of business affairs for 14 years before being named executive VP and co-head of business affairs in 2020. “It’s more challenging to bring entertainment to audiences who have so many more choices than they ever had and to figure out where to allocate our resources. Being more creative with our deal-making and figuring out new templates and paradigms is deeply gratifying.”
Brightman, whose resume includes serving as senior counsel for five years at HBO, oversees everything from development to term deals on the studio side, while Co-Head Jeeun Kim handles the network side. She relies heavily on her communication and negotiation skills, developed through the USC Gould School of Law writing program and the Hale Moot Court Honors Program.
“We had to present one side and then flip and take the other side and, boy, was that a great exercise to train a negotiator,” she says. “It was the perfect preparation for what I do now, negotiating with agents or lawyers to get a deal over the finish line.”
As a 1L, Brightman had a son, Michael, who is now a lawyer. She and her husband also have two daughters, Erica and Mia, who have profound disabilities and, as adults, continue to live at home. They inspired her to become a special education advocate and to volunteer for more than eight years with Disability Rights California, where she also served as president of the board.
The way Brightman embraces business negotiations and champions civil rights, it’s perhaps no surprise that her favorite CBS show is the legal drama The Good Fight. “It’s about lawyers, right? And it’s incredibly smart and witty… and challenging.”