Every time I ask the top Hollywood agencies about diversity among their ranks, they refuse to answer en masse. Which is why I want to point out that this weekend’s big hot R-rated comedy starring Channing Tatum will pack people into movie theaters. Yet I can’t believe that his UTA agent Louise Ward still isn’t a partner.
I’m told she was truly pissed last October when the agency promoted four agents to partner level. Not that motion picture talent agents Jay Gassner, Chris Hart, Josh Katz and TV talent co-head Mike Jelline weren’t deserving. But she wasn’t told it was happening and had to read about it online. That’s a real bitchslap.
Since then the agency bought NS Bienstock and made Jonathan and Adam Leibner partners. They hired talent agent Brian Swardstrom from WME and he came over as a partner. But nuttin’ for Louise even though her clients are very loyal and Channing is a first-dollar-gross player. Now the agency has about 30 partners and a Board Of Directors and 3 (mis)managers: CEO Jeremy Zimmer, Jay Sures, and David Kramer.
To make things worse, UTA eminence grise Jim Berkus likes to tell the town that Channing is his client. Advisors told Louise Ward to tear Berkus and everybody else there a new asshole. But she hasn’t. So I have this to say about the matter: the more women stay passive and keep their heads down, the more these places are going to forget about us gals.
Meanwhile, UTA still hasn’t partnered with a private equity firm like CAA and WME. "If the circumstances are right and it makes sense, it can happen," the agency informed me yesterday.