The ink had hardly dried on the documents setting forth the terms of the merger of two of Hollywood's top talent agencies -- The William Morris Agency and Endeavor -- when several top agents from both the companies announced that they would go it alone. They included Tom Strickler, one of Endeavor's four founders. In reporting the defections, the Los Angeles Times commented that they are likely to represent "the tip of the iceberg, as the new goliath, called William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, combines operations and eliminates staff. ... Some speculate that as many as 100 agents could lose their jobs." An unnamed network business affairs chief told the Times' entertainment blog Company Town," "This really is a cost-reduction exercise. ... These two agencies realize they have to be leaner to make the kind of money they want to make." WMA's Jim Wiatt will serve as chairman of the new company, while the CEO position will be shared by Endeavor founder Ari Emanuel, Endeavor managing partner Patrick Whitesell, and WMA President Dave Wirtschafter.

28/04/2009