A lot has happened at WME Entertainment…
Both Endeavor and William Morris are finally answering their phones “WME”. And WmE2 took out ads at Variety and Huffington Post (where Ari Emanuel blogs the occasional political essay) announcing itself. Then, Monday night, about 350 William Morris and Endeavor agents and senior staff gathered for cocktails and dinner at Ari’s house. Here’s a point of interest: sources claim to me they saw CAA’s Richard Lovett cruise past Emanuel’s home and scout out the party. Brandt Joel waved to him.
“There were Vegas guys, Nashville guys, old guys. And Ari’s crew has none of that,” an Endeavor agent told me. “The Morris guys wanted to hang around with the Endeavor guys, who are all fun and trendy and cool. But it also appeared that a lot of the Morris crowd didn’t even know one another. So they were introducing themselves to each other as well as to Endeavor.” But, truth be told, most were more eager to see the so-called “Lincoln Bedroom” which is what people call the floor above Ari’s elaborate screening room.
An obviously nervous Ari gave an off-the-cuff and rambling speech about how he started in showbiz 22 years ago when Gerry Harrington and Michael Mendelson told him about a career where you could start in the William Morris mailroom and rise up to become an agent, and Emanuel thought, “That’s the job for me.” And how humbling it was to now look out at the collective group of William Morris and Endeavor making up the new company. He also spoke of being at CAA when he made $250 a week and received 15-cents a mile. “And, now, it’s kinda wild.”
Also last night, a separate assistants party was thrown at Foxtail in West Hollywood.
This morning, all the staff from William Morris and Endeavor gathered at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel to officially begin working as one agency under the name WME Entertainment. Norman Brokaw made the opening statement to the assembled crowd, and received a standing ovation, followed by speeches from Patrick Whitesell, Dave Wirtschafter, and Emanuel. Then each division introduced itself. When it was over, T-shirts with the new WME logo were passed out.
Meanwhile, Ari was telling anyone who asked him about the thumbs-down verdict on WME’s new logo that, when he and his partners came up with “Endeavor”, “everybody told us that’s the stupidest name they ever heard”.
Before the morning was over, everyone returned to their respective offices. “The process was seamless,” one source tells me. “Now everyone knows where we’re going.” But I understand there are plans underway to close the China office, and to reduce the Miami office. Also, Endeavor’s famous every-other-Friday rah-rah get-togethers in the agency screening room are going to be moved to a bigger venue. “It’s not going to be the same,” another Endeavor agent rued, “when you go from 40 people to 200. But this integration, and synergy, and communication between disciplines, and sharing the business with each other, is the stuff that’s going to distinguish this company qualitatively. We’ll need to adapt those systems. It will be exciting but also a struggle.”
Physically, inside Endeavor office space, the merged Television department will be located on the 8th floor, Motion Pictures on the 3rd floor, Bigwigs on the 4th floor, and Business Affairs on the 6th floor. Staying at the William Morris building will be the Music Department and some others. This appears to be how the two headquarters will be organized until the WME building is ready.
And just in case you didn’t think anybody was working, a rival agency leaked me this snippet of the weekly schedule of the combined WME’s various departmental meetings: