WME Entertainment agents and staff can start to breathe easier. I’m told that these last weeks upon weeks upon weeks of cuts and layoffs and contract non-renewals and attrition are now finished following the merger. (Yes, there were some recent layoffs in the hot music department. I hear three peoples’ contracts were up.) “The layoffs are done. Complete. After just 3 months. The next phase is integration. Let’s make sure we’re integrating our clients,” WME field marshal Ari Emanuel told a TV and motion picture staff meeting last week. What that means in practice is each heavy duty client will now have multiple agents to make sure that client is covered in every area: some from the old Morris and some from the new Endeavor. That also means multiple new people will be introduced into the clients’ lives, which is never easy but necessary to a team approach to agenting. Of course, given the heightened level of skirmishing between rival agencies in Hollywood right now, reps at WME competitors are spinning this to me as a bad thing. They say agents are terrified about who will be assigned to their client’s team. Because this will allow WME to continue to downsize but keep the clients. Heck, probably both interpretations are right. All I know is that I’m relieved to stop reporting layoffs at WME. One interesting factoid: WME right now is about the same size as the old William Morris.
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