Yep, the two Mikes will be battling onstage in song and dance. Sort of.
Ovitz, the former superagent-turned-former Disney president, agreed Monday to take over one of the Mouse House's chief Broadway rivals, Livent.
He's investing $20 million in the Toronto-based theatrical company, which buys him a seat on the board and 12 percent of the operation.
The deal immediately installs Ovitz as a Broadway force--Livent has made a splash on the Great White Way with such productions as Kiss of the Spider Woman, the revamped Show Boat and the current hit Ragtime--which is considered the cofavorite with Disney's Lion King in this year's Tony race.
It also marks Ovitz' return to show biz after a lengthy hiatus. Arguably the most powerful man in Hollywood during the late '80s and early '90s, Ovitz fell into a black hole following his ignominious exit from the Mouse House two years ago. (In fact, the only recent Ovitz sighting was last month, when he signed a deal to develop a mall in the Midwest.)
Hand-picked by Walt Disney chief Eisner to be his No. 2 man, Ovitz failed miserably and was forced out with a golden parachute valued at $130 million.
The entertainment world will be watching to see if Ovitz can turn around Livent (the company reported 1997 losses of $30 million) while squaring off against his ex-employer.
Disney, of course, has taken a shine to Times Square. The Mouse folks have opened successful shows there (Lion King and Beauty and the Beast, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is in development), renovated the classic New Amsterdam Theatre and spiffed up the once-seedy area.