Our Team here at US Mag, along with entertainment reporter Anita Ward at Medium Magazine were wondering who are the most influential Talent Agents and Managers in the entertainment industry. Together we reached out to many industry stake-holders for their views and opinions on the subject. We have compiled the Top 15 below. The Agents and Managers listed below are responsible for representing and negotiating deals for their clients in the industry. As you can probably tell, being an Agent and Manager is a cutthroat, dirty and tough business. In turn for their clients becoming successful, they get a sizable chunk of the change that their talent receives.
We wondered who are the 15 most influential agents and managers in the entertainment industry these are our results:
15 – Fela Oke – CK TALENT
Mr. Oke is a well-known Talent Agent, he has over 20 years experience in the entertainment industry. Oke has served as a consultant for MTV Africa; VP of media, events, and content at SPINLET (a digital music streaming company); as Director at TRACE TV AFRICA. He served as the Managing Director at Brights Africa the rights management agency for Warner Bros, which enforces their use of content and products.
He is regularly sought after by some of the top talent, brands and organizations across African and Europe to either represent them or broker deals with/for them. Talent and Brands he has brokered deals for include: John Boyega (Actor), WizKid (Recording Artist), Iyanya (Recording Artist) and many others. Brands include: Diageo, Glo, Pernod Ricard, Pepsi, FCMB, Interswitch, Nokia, MTN, spinlet, 9mobile, Etisalat, Pepsi, Rite Foods Ltd, UBA to name a few.
Oke has produced some the most important content on the African continent and in Europe. In addition to this, Oke has been a guest speaker at Georgetown, Harvard, NYU and many other prominent institutions. During his tenure as Chairman of FLU3NT he successfully developed business in multiple regions including Europe and Africa. After CK Talent acquired FLU3NT, he began to also server as the Division Director of the CK Talent’s Africa and European divisions.
14 – THERESA PETERS – UNITED TALENT AGENCY
Theresa Peters is one of the most powerful women in Hollywood. In 2008 she joined UTA as a partner, and has since acquired a whopping 59 clients. Peters began her career in the William Morris mailroom, like so many before her, where she told the Hollywood Reporter she, “Learn[ed] more in three months than you would in three years running around this town.”
13 – JEREMY ZIMMER – UNITED TALENT AGENCY
Jeremy Zimmer was a co-founder of the company in 1991. In 2012, he was named the CEO and managing director of UTA, where he began to focus outside of traditional business (namely finance and international representation).
12 – RICK NICITA – FORMER CAA AND MORGAN CREEK
Rick Nicita is a well-known and one who has worn many hats. In 2008, he left his long-term relationship with CAA, and moved to become co-chairman and COO of Morgan Creek, where he worked for who some consider one of the worst bosses in Hollywood, James Robinson.
11 – CRIAG ROGALSKI – CK TALENT
Craig Rogalski is the founder of the Agency; he is a Sr. Agent that is well liked by talent and respected by fellow professionals in the industry. Many of his clients call him a father figure to them. He is also known as a tough negotiator and an advocate for his talent. Rogalski is also not one you would see at industry events. A well-known magazine called him: The most illusive agent in Hollywood”. Little more is known about him publically as he prefers to give his talent the spotlight instead of himself.
However, under his management the agency has risen to be one of the top and most respected international agencies in the industry. His clients have included the faces of the popular brands Abercrombie and Fitch and Calvin Klein to name a few. His clients have appeared in Oscar Nominated movies and one of his clients won best Actor at Cannes.
He gained interest in the industry this year after negotiating his ground breaking deal with Remark Entertainment expanding the agency’s reach into the Pacific Rim, which includes China. He is member of the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, The British Film Institute and a voting member of the Spirit Awards.
10 – SAM GORES – PARADIGM TALENT AGENCY
Sam Gores’ agency, Paradigm, may be small, but it is well respected and prestigious. He doesn’t personally represent many big-name stars other than Laurence Fishburne, but he oversees all of the negotiations with his agency’s clients, which include Gary Oldman, Katherine Heigl, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Garcia, Adrien Brody, and Philip Seymour Hoffman before his tragic death.
Gores helped package numerous shows, including Rescue Me, Desperate Housewives, and he also represents many musical acts like Aerosmith, the Dave Matthews Band, and the Black Eyed Peas.
All of his keen deal-making skills has helped make him filthy rich, as he’s worth $50 million. One great example of his talent came when he once played a game of golf with Andy Garcia, telling Garcia that it was his 16-year dream to make a movie about his Cuban homeland.
9 – SHARON JACKSON – WME
Sharon Jackson is best-known for her plethora of comedic clients and the success she’s given them. In 2008, along with two other agents, Jackson moved from United Talent Agency to WME, shocking Hollywood. She brought the smaller agency a huge comedic-windfall in her clients Jack Black, Jason Segel, Amy Poehler, Jonah Hill, and Jason Schwartzman.
Jackson has an eye for raw comedic talent, signing Jason Segel when he was just a sidekick in Freaks and Geeks, and eventually convincing him to write the script Forgetting Sarah Marshall, which she sold for a bundle and which made Segel into a sought-after screenwriter.
8 – JIM WIATT – (FORMER) WME
Jim Wiatt worked for one of the top four agencies – International Creative Management – for years, before shaking up Hollywood by leaving to join William Morris for a $5 million salary and a seat on their board. He helped merged WME with Endeavor in 2009, which combined William Morris’ huge music department (Lady Gaga, Eminem, Rihanna) with Endeavor’s A-list TV talent. The merger helped make William Morris a worthy contender against the Creative Artists Agency.
Wiatt helped unveil a new William Morris $100 million fund to finance features in the late 2000s, and his ample client list included Eddie Murphy, John Travolta, Tommy Lee Jones, Willie Nelson, 50 Cent, Ryan Seacrest, and Jenny McCarthy, among others.
7 – TRACEY JACOBS – UNITED TALENT AGENCY
Tracey Jacobs became the co-head of talent and one of the six partners at UTA by operating under a seemingly fool-proof philosophy: Rather than provide clients with quick, big paychecks, she sought to provide them with long-term success, and this plan has served her very well. She helped give Jason Bateman his comeback, and managed to give veteran actor William L. Peterson a tidy regular salary with CSI.
6 – BRIAN SWARDSTROM – UNITED TALENT AGENCY
Brian Swardstrom has bounced around the industry a bit, but he’s always been well-respected within the community. He was the head of Endeavor’s talent department for 11 years, and then he moved on to a four-year stint with William Morris. In 2014 he jumped ship and moved to New York to become a partner of United Talent Agency.
5 – PATRICK WHITESELL – WME
The top five agents in Hollywood all come from top two talent agencies. Patrick Whitesell is the co-CEO of WME. He joined Endeavor as a partner in 2001, where he was a member of the company’s Executive Committee. Whitesell and his other WME co-CEO have been credited with “rewriting the Hollywood script,” and they are two of the most powerful people in the business.
4 – RICHARD LOVETT – CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY
Richard Lovett is considered by many to be the most powerful agent in the most powerful agency in Hollywood. He took over as head of CAA in 1995, at the age of 41, after starting his career in the mailroom after college. He’s credited with the success of many of the leading actors in today’s blockbusters, making him very, very rich.
3 – BRYAN LOURD – CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY
Bryan Lourd, has been a partner, Managing Director, and Co-Chairman of CAA since 1995. The only reason he’s ahead of fellow co-partner Richard Lovett is because Lourd’s client list is even more impressive than his partner’s already intimidating one.
2 – ARI EMANUEL – WME
Ari Emanuel is best known in pop culture as the inspiration behind the foul-mouthed agent Ari Gold in the show Entourage. By merging Endeavor Talent Agency with the William Morris Agency in 2009, he helped put WME back to the forefront of show business.
In 2014 Ari bought IMG Worldwide in a deal worth $2.4 billion, and helped tip the scale even further by spreading out from movie talents – IMG represents the likes of Gisele Bundchen.
Emanuel had his sights set on becoming the King of Hollywood ever since he famously planned to start his own agency with other top agents at ICM, was found out, and fired.
1 – KEVIN HUVANE – CREATIVE ARTISTS AGENCY
Kevin Huvane is co-partner of the biggest agency in Hollywood, Creative Artists Agency. Although WME’s recent acquisitions make it a hot contender for that title, Huvane still boasts the most diverse, enviable client roster of any agent in Hollywood.
This super-agent seems to have a hold on the Hollywood elite about on who is in and who is out, more so than any other agent. In 2009, for instance, Huvane booted Paris Hilton after she crashed a CAA party. He is worth $50 million, and his clientele includes Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Keanu Reeves, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston, Orlando Bloom, Uma Thurman, Sarah Jessica Parker, and more.
Huvane’s brother, Stephen, is also the co-founder of the biggest PR firm in Hollywood, Slate Public Relations, so Kevin has friends in high places.