Big Managers of the Moment 2024
The reps dominating deals today on the long game of clients becoming (and staying) superstars, whether Selena Gomez, Taylor Sheridan or Deion Sanders
Call my agent? Today, more than ever, Hollywood talent is as likely to say call my manager as the representation business — like the industry it works with — undergoes one upheaval after another.
Today, as we kick off a week of stories about the state of the representation business in entertainment (for paid subscribers), our team examines the rising role of the manager, a job materially different from that of agents, who can negotiate deals on behalf of clients but are legally restricted from producing.
As the big agencies consolidate, go public, don’t go public, sell and become almost universally more corporate, with its 10 percenters being forced to stay in their lanes (and feed top partners’ bonuses and goals), many agents have peeled off into the growing world of management, a profession unregulated by the same state laws, and where you aren’t just working for a deal, any deal, but instead the narrative arc of a client’s career, from newbie to those with mega-TV contracts, prestige film roles and lucrative brand-building endorsements.
A common knock on agents? Some won’t even return your call right away — unless you’re a top performer. Managers tend to have fewer clients allowing for more personalized attention (and likely won’t “drop” you in a bad year). At the recent Emmys, an emotional Kieran Culkin said onstage after his win: “I have to thank my manager, Emily Gerson Saines, who I've been with about 29 years… I just have to thank you for keeping my name in the conversation when nobody else was talking about me.”
The numbers of new managers since the start of the Streaming Wars appear to multiply daily (fresh entrants numbering at least in the dozens), with new firms such as Range Media and The Framework Collective popping up in recent years, joining the ranks of stalwarts like 3 Arts Entertainment and Entertainment 360.
So who are the standouts?
Today, we interview six management superstars (seven, really, as one is a high-powered duo) who have, behind-the-scenes, shaped what client success looks like in modern-day entertainment better than almost anyone, helping guide careers to the next level (and then the one above that), whether starting with early outreach to a Gawker writer with potential, setting record-setting streaming deals, standing by a near-canceled client dropped by Disney, or by imagining how to turn a sports legend into a full-fledged entertainment brand.
Let’s meet them: