2:30 PM UPDATE: Agency sources told me this morning that WME Reality TV major player John Ferriter has resigned but the agency is holding him to his contract which still has at least 18 months to go even if he doesn’t want to come into the office anymore. But now sources in the Ferriter camp tell me WME is hoping to oust John and not pay him the money he is owed. (“Aside from salary, there are big outstanding commissions from top reality shows owed to the agency as well. And, hence, to JF,” a Ferriter pal emails me.) The way the Ferriter camp tells it, WME offered to pay him in full but only if he signed a contract stating he would not take any agents or clients with him for 3 years. John reportedly refused. “This all came to a head last week after Ari Emanuel tried to strong arm John Ferriter at a breakfast meeting at Walters Coffee Shop downstairs from WME,” a Ferriter camp source tells me. “This weekend, he was then ordered by WME not to come into the office. He in no way resigned.”
Oh, I love the smell of napalm inside the Hollywood agencies. “This is going to be big, and it’s going to get VERY ugly,” a Ferriter camp insider assures me.
11:30 AM: So here’s what happened, according to my sources: former William Morris Reality TV major player John Ferriter told WME Entertainment’s Ari Emanuel over breakfast at Walters Coffee Shop last week that he was unhappy. The agency head told him to talk to the heads of the TV department, Mark Itkin and Rick Rosen, and see if all three “could design a plan where, hopefully, John, could stay on with whatever tweaks he wanted”. The next thing WME knew, Ferriter’s lawyer phoned and said John wants out. The result is that Ferriter has resigned, and doesn’t want to come into the WME offices anymore, but WME will still enforce his new contract. That pact was signed before the merger talks between William Morris and Endeavor began in earnest and still has at least 18 months left on it. Ferriter’s abrupt resignation follows my posting Friday that he remained odd man out at the new agency after being the only one among the 20 William Morris board members to vote against the merger. And last week he was telling pals that he “hates coming into the [WME] office every day, but they’re hanging onto me as long as they have to pay me”. Ferriter tried to raise venture capital and start a company, but the climate has been lousy because of the financial crisis. Then John was hospitalized when the Endeavor takeover went through, but recovered from his illness. In July, his silver bullet client Ryan Seacrest threw him under the bus by going to CAA and then battled over commissions. Now, as far as WME is concerned, they’ll let John stay home.