United Talent Agency

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United Talent Agency
Private
Founded1991; 28 years ago (1991)
Founders
Headquarters
9336 Civic Center Drive Beverly Hills, California
,
Key people
Jim Berkus, (Chairman)
Jeremy Zimmer (CEO)
David Kramer, (Co-President)
Jay Sures, (Co-President)
Peter Benedek, (Director)
Number of employees
  • 900 (2018)
Divisions
  • UTA Brand Studio
    • Digital
    • Film
    • UTA Fine Arts
    • UTA Foundation
    • UTA IQ
    • UTA Marketing
    • UTA Music
    • News & Broadcast
    • Speakers
    • TV
    • UTA Ventures
Websiteunitedtalent.com


United Talent Agency (UTA) is a talent agency representing artists and other professionals in the entertainment industry. The Beverly Hills, California-based company was established in 1991 and, as of 2017, has approximately 900 employees, around 300 of which are agents. UTA has divisions focused on film, television, digital, books, music, video games, branding and licensing, speaking, marketing, fine arts, news and broadcasting, among others. The agency also operates the non-profit UTA Foundation.

Corporate overview[edit]

UTA, established in 1991, is a private company representing talent in a variety of industries, including film, television, digital media, publishing, music, and video games.[1] It is one of the largest such agencies in the world, with approximately 300 agents representing actors, directors, producers, recording artists, writers, and other professionals.[2] Its services also include brand management, film financing and packaging, licensing, marketing, strategic management, and venture capital financing for companies.[3] In addition to Beverly Hills, UTA has offices in London, Malmö, Miami, Nashville, and New York.[4] UTA has around 900 employees overall, as of February 2018.[5]

The company operates as a partnership.[6] Co-founders Jim Berkus and Peter Benedek serve as chairman and director, respectively.[7] Jeremy Zimmer, also a co-founder,[8] serves as chief executive officer (CEO).[7] David Kramer and Jay Sures serve as co-presidents.[7] These executives serve on the board of directors along with Tracey Jacobs, Blair Kohan,[9] and Matt Rice.

History[edit]

Founding and early history[edit]

United Talent Agency was established in 1991 through the merger of the Bauer-Benedek Agency and Leading Artists Agency.[10] Jim Berkus, Jeremy Zimmer,[11][12] and Peter Benedek are UTA's co-founders.[13][14]

UTA had 10 partners and 40 agents by mid-1994.[15] The company began compiling a weekly list of mostly entry-level employment opportunities across the entertainment industry, which was described by the Los Angeles Times in 2001 as "among the most coveted documents in wannabe Hollywood".[16][17] In mid 1996, the company had expanded to 45 agents and was described in the media as one of Hollywood's "big four" agencies.[18]

By the early 2000s, the agency had become known for its roster of comedians including Jim Carrey, Dave Chappelle, Will Ferrell, and Ben Stiller, along with writers for popular comedy television programs.[19][19] UTA was also known for its television talent, representing clients such as David Chase and Dick Wolf. In 2006, the Los Angeles Times described UTA as a "tastemaker" agency, noting clients such as Don Cheadle, Johnny Depp, and M. Night Shyamalan.[20] The agency established "UTA U" in 2008 to provide skills training to interns by partners and other executives. The program also includes a community service component.[21] UTA was inducted into Vanity Fair's "New Establishment Hall of Fame" in 2010.[22][23]

Recent history[edit]

In 2011, UTA relocated its headquarters to a Civic Center Drive complex, which was renamed UTA Plaza.[24] The company acquired N.S. Bienstock, one of the largest agencies for television news talent in the United States, in January 2014.[1][25] N.S. Bienstock represented more than 600 television news anchors, reporters, and producers, including: Glenn Beck, Anderson Cooper, Megyn Kelly, Steve Kroft, Lara Logan, David Muir, Norah O'Donnell, Bill O'Reilly, Robin Roberts, Bob Schieffer, and Bob Simon.[1][26][25] Richard Leibner and Carole Cooper continued to serve in their roles as co-presidents of N.S. Bienstock.[1][27] The merger made UTA the largest company representing television news talent.[1] In 2017, UTA did not renew O'Reilly's contract due to allegations of sexual harassment.[28][29] The venture was rebranded UTA News & Broadcast in 2017.[30]

The agency created a new publishing imprint called Keywords Press in May 2014, to publish books by internet entertainers. UTA partnered with Atria Publishing Group, a division of Simon & Schuster, to create the imprint. Keywords announced deals with Shane Dawson, Connor Franta, and Joey Graceffa.[31][32]

In 2015, UTA hired a dozen agents from Creative Artists Agency in what was widely characterized in the media as a "midnight raid".[33][34] Creative Artists Agency filed a lawsuit in response.[35][36][37] Also in that year, the company took a minority investment from Jeffrey W. Ubben, founder and CEO of ValueAct Capital, who became a non-voting UTA board member.[34] ValueAct also was invested in 21st Century Fox, Adobe Systems, CB Richard Ellis, and Microsoft at the time.[26] UTA acquired The Agency Group (TAG), the world's largest independent music agency, in August 2015. TAG had approximately 95 agents working in cities including London, Los Angeles, and New York,[26] and brought around 2,000 artists into UTA's client portfolio,[38][39] including Muse, Paramore and The Black Keys.[26] UTA expanded its New York City offices in 2016.[40][41]

In early 2017, UTA held several events relating to political and social movements. In lieu of its annual Academy Awards party, UTA organized a "United Voices" rally outside the company's Beverly Hills headquarters two days before the 89th Academy Awards, in response to President Donald Trump's signing of Executive Order 13769, commonly referred to as the "Muslim travel ban".[42][43][44] As many as 2,000 demonstrators attended in support of refugee relief and freedom of speech, including Michael J. Fox, Gavin Newsom, Bill Nye, Wilmer Valderrama, and Kristen Wiig.[45][46][47][48] UTA also contributed $250,000, plus $70,000 collected via crowdfunding, to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee.[46][47] The company hosted events for female employees in Los Angeles, New York, and Toronto as part of the Day Without a Woman.[49][50]

In March 2017, UTA acquired an equity stake in the investment banking firm AGM Partners to give the agency and its clients guidance on investments in the media and entertainment sector.[51][52] UTA acquired Greater Talent Network (GTN), which focuses on public speaking engagements, in September 2017.[51][53] Don Epstein, GTN's founder and CEO who represented clients like Louis Freeh, Michael Lewis, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Ruffalo, and Lesley Stahl, was named a partner at UTA.[53] GTN continued to operate from its offices in Florida and New York City.[51]

The New York Observer named UTA one of "Hollywood's 7 Most Powerful Talent Agencies" in November 2017. In December, the agency also hosted Anita Hill at its offices during the early days of the Me Too movement,[54] and provided support to the industry's Commission on Sexual Harassment and Advancing Equality in the Workplace, which Hill went on to lead.[55] UTA became a founding donor of Time's Up in early 2018, committing $1 million to the organization against sexual harassment in the workplace in response to the Weinstein effect and Me Too movement.[56][57] UTA acquired Circle Talent Agency, which focuses on dance and electronic music, in April 2018.[58]

UTA Foundation[edit]

The agency operates a non-profit organization called UTA Foundation. The foundation's annual week-long Project Impact has worked with dozens of organizations in cities around the world and encourages employees to offer community service.[59] The foundation also launched the Live Inspired program in 2016, which allows five UTA employees each year an opportunity to pursue their personal or philanthropic goals during a one-week paid sabbatical.[60]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "N.S. Bienstock Acquired by United Talent Agency". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  2. ^ "Hollywood Agency Plans to Represent Artists – artnet News". artnet News. 2015-02-11. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  3. ^ "Curt Motley, Toby Keith Join UTA Nashville". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  4. ^ "UTA confirms Toronto office closure". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  5. ^ "UTA Names Lyndsay Harding Chief Financial Officer". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  6. ^ Villarreal, Yvonne. "CAA agents stage exodus to rival United Talent Agency". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  7. ^ a b c Scott, Andrea. "The Studio System". W Magazine. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  8. ^ Bryant, Adam. "Jeremy Zimmer of United Talent Agency, on Accepting Ideas". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  9. ^ Kroll, Justin (2018-01-10). "UTA Partner Blair Kohan Joins Agency's Board of Directors". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  10. ^ "United Talent Agency leases former Hilton Hotels headquarters". 15 November 2011.
  11. ^ "This Powerhouse Agent's Impressive Art Collection Includes a Massive Portrait of Tilda Swinton". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  12. ^ "UTA Names Agent Blair Kohan to Board of Directors". Billboard. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  13. ^ "Subscribe to read". Financial Times. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  14. ^ "Can Hollywood Change Its Ways?". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  15. ^ CITRON, ALAN (1994-07-26). "Company Town : United Talent Agency's Star Ascends". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  16. ^ O'NEILL, ANN (2001-04-22). "The List—Where Hollywood Dreams Begin". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  17. ^ Boyd, Betsy (2005-03-28). "Are you on the list?". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  18. ^ Dutka, Elaine (June 23, 1996). ""Hollywood; The Big Four"". Los Angeles Times.
  19. ^ a b James, Yvonne Villarreal, Meg. "The power of comedy is subplot in agency war". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  20. ^ Hoffman, Claire (March 13, 2006). "Talent Firms May Merge to Keep Pace; Agencies are selling to fewer, bigger buyers. Personal ties may set matches in motion". Los Angeles Times.
  21. ^ Finke, Nikki (2009-03-20). "CAA U? UTA U, Too". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  22. ^ Fair, Vanity. "The 2015 New Establishment Hall of Fame". The Hive. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  23. ^ Fair, Vanity. "The 2017 New Establishment Hall of Fame". The Hive. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  24. ^ Finke, Nikki (2011-11-16). "UTA Moving To New Beverly Hills Location: 9336–9346 Civic Center Complex Named UTA Plaza". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  25. ^ a b "UTA Acquires New York TV News Power Agency N.S. Bienstock". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  26. ^ a b c d Verrier, Richard. "UTA buys the Agency Group". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  27. ^ Miller, By Daniel. "United Talent Agency acquires TV news agency N.S. Bienstock". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  28. ^ Kludt, Tom. "Bill O'Reilly dropped by another talent agency". CNNMoney. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  29. ^ Thomsen, Jacqueline (2017-10-24). "O'Reilly dropped by talent agency after sexual harassment settlement scandal: report". TheHill. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  30. ^ Littleton, Cynthia (2017-09-14). "Peter Goldberg Named Head of UTA News and Broadcasting". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  31. ^ "Media Companies Join to Extend the Brands of YouTube Stars". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  32. ^ "Atria & United Talent Launch Keywords Press". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  33. ^ "A Phone Call, "Betrayal" and How the "Midnight Raid" at CAA Happened". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  34. ^ a b "Jeffrey Ubben Buys Minority Stake in United Talent Agency". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  35. ^ Rottenberg, Josh. "Wall Street investors to Hollywood talent agencies: 'Show us the money'". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  36. ^ "'Theft' of A-list clients sparks Hollywood talent agency battle". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  37. ^ "In Hollywood, A-List Talent Agencies Battle Over Departure of Agents". Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  38. ^ Gensler, Andy (January 20, 2016). "DJ Khaled Signs With United Talent Agency: Exclusive". Billboard.
  39. ^ "Muse Signs With United Talent Agency for Worldwide Representation: Exclusive". Billboard. April 28, 2016.
  40. ^ Weiss, Lois (January 13, 2016). "Hollywood powerhouse UTA expands footprint in NYC". New York Post.
  41. ^ "Talent agency signs for triplex HQ at Vornado's 888 Seventh". The Real Deal New York. 2016-01-13. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  42. ^ "Major talent agency cancels Oscar party, will protest Trump's immigration ban instead". Newsweek. 2017-02-09. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  43. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "United Talent Agency cancels Oscar party as an anti-Trump protest: Report". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  44. ^ Kaplan, Don. "United Talent Agency protests Trump Muslim ban by canceling Oscar party and donating $250,000 to ACLU   – NY Daily News". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  45. ^ Yamato, Jen. "Jodie Foster, other celebs urge action at UTA Oscars rally: 'This is our time to resist'". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  46. ^ a b Strachan, Maxwell (February 25, 2017). "Hollywood Talent Agency Ditches Usual Oscar Party in Favor of Anti-Trump Rally". Huffington Post.
  47. ^ a b "United Talent Agency skips Oscar bash, throws rally instead". USA Today. February 25, 2017.
  48. ^ Marikar, Sheila (March 13, 2017). "A Pre-Oscar Protest in Beverly Hills". The New Yorker.
  49. ^ Hill, Libby. "United Talent Agency highlights 'A Day Without a Woman' with employee events". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  50. ^ Hill, Libby. "From social media blackouts to celeb tweets, Hollywood salutes International Women's Day". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  51. ^ a b c "United Talent Agency Acquires Greater Talent Network | Los Angeles Business Journal". labusinessjournal.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  52. ^ Schwartzel, Erich. "UTA follows Hollywood talent agency trend and takes stake in an investment bank". MarketWatch. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  53. ^ a b Battaglio, Stephen. "L.A.-based United Talent Agency acquires speakers' booking group GTN". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  54. ^ Sperling, Nicole. "Anita Hill Schools Hollywood on Sexual Harassment". HWD. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  55. ^ "Top Hollywood Execs Unveil Anti-Sexual Harassment Commission Chaired by Anita Hill". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  56. ^ Haring, Bruce (2018-01-01). "Time's Up Empowerment Group Starts Legal Defense Fund For Sex Harassments". Deadline. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  57. ^ Hipes, Patrick (January 10, 2018). "UTA Partner Blair Kohan Named To Agency's Board of Directors". Deadline Hollywood.
  58. ^ ""UTA Acquires Dance-Music-Centric Circle Talent Agency"". Variety. April 17, 2018.
  59. ^ McClendon, Lamarco (2016-06-18). "UTA Celebrates Week of Community Service Around Globe". Variety. Retrieved 2018-08-07.
  60. ^ "My Six Days of Silence: A Hollywood Agent Puts Down His Phone (for Once)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2018-08-07.

External links[edit]