Beyoncé, Kate Hudson, Hugh Grant — all have left CAA within days. True, Jim Carrey recently moved from UTA to CAA, but so far his new agency not only can’t keep his old projects from blowing up either, but he’s still not cast in anything new. (Indeed, CAA went back to Fox to try to restart his Used Guys, just like UTA did, and the studio said no, just like it did to UTA. So much for the CAA mystique.) And don’t forget that CAA recently was powerless to keep Microsoft’s much-hyped Halo from being deep-sized by the studios. While this isn’t yet a “CAA tripping up” trend, it’s certainly an interesting development for an agency that hasn’t shaken loose many clients in recent years. After all, CAA still poaches agents with tempting offers of 5-year, $5 mil contracts that aren’t dependent on bringing over old clients or signing new ones. But let’s face it, that kind of largesse can’t go on ad infinitum, either. But I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: in my opinion, CAA’s philosophy of agenting runs contrary to the best interests of talent. After all, president Richard Lovett has always embraced two essential guiding principles: first, that the company is always more important than the clients; and, second, that it doesn’t matter if the clients are working because it’s better to have them than not have them. The result is that Lovett at times has tangled with his partners Bryan Lourd, Kevin Huvane and others who grew up inside Ovitz’s CAA thinking the agency should represent fewer clients and give them more personal attention, than try to sustain a volume business. But Lovett keeps winning every battle because his mantra is market share, market share, market share. As Lovett likes to argue, there won’t be a need for any other agency if CAA has everyone. Well, judging from recent days, not quite everyone. Stay tuned.
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