In a fiery start to Bloomberg’s inaugural Screentime conference, Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel took shots at rival Creative Artists Agency, the leadership at Paramount Global and Fox Corp., and called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down.
(Bloomberg) — In a fiery start to Bloomberg’s inaugural Screentime conference, Hollywood superagent Ari Emanuel took shots at rival Creative Artists Agency, the leadership at Paramount Global and Fox Corp., and called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to step down.
“This past weekend was one of the worst pogroms in history, not including the Holocaust,” Emanuel said. “I just think it’s time that we get rid of this man.”
Read More: Hollywood’s Emanuel Says Israel’s Netanyahu Needs to Go
Emanuel, the chief executive officer of Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., also confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report that his company is interested buying a stake in the PGA Tour.
“We put in a bid,” Emanuel said. “It’s one of the great sports. I love it. You know, I think we could add to it what we’ve added to all of our sports.”
Emanuel spoke Wednesday at the Bloomberg Screentime conference in Los Angeles. The event covers the collision of Hollywood and Silicon Valley. It features leaders in media, sports and technology. Thursday’s lineup of speakers includes Netflix Inc. co-CEO Ted Sarandos, YouTube CEO Neal Mohan, tennis great Maria Sharapova and reality TV star Kris Jenner.
Considered one of the top talent agents in Hollywood, Emanuel co-founded the Endeavor agency in 1995, merging it later with one of the oldest names in the business, William Morris.
Endeavor has since expanded into events and sports ownership, acquiring the mixed martial arts league Ultimate Fighting Championship in a 2016 deal valued at $4 billion. Last month, Emanuel completed a merger of that business with World Wrestling Entertainment, creating a giant in the world of combat sports called TKO Group Holdings Inc.
Emanuel called for striking screen actors and Hollywood studios to come to the table to end the three-month long dispute that’s put the film and TV industry on hold.
“I don’t think they want us agents involved,” said Emanuel, who added his company recently signed deals for Tyler Perry and producer David Ellison at Netflix. “When you’re in negotiation, get half the loaf and move along.”
Donna Langley, chief content officer for TV and film giant NBCUniversal, also spoke at the Screentime event, expressing her concern that without a settlement to Hollywood’s labor troubles, next year’s film lineup will suffer.
“One of the reasons why I’m so focused on bringing a resolution to the strike is not being able to finish the films that are being shut down,” she said. “If I learned anything during Covid, the lack of volume really impacts the movie-going cadence.”
Langley, who participated in contract talks with striking screenwriters, said concerns about artificial intelligence taking jobs are premature.
“We are big believers in the fact that creativity comes from a human being,” she said. “In the production universe, there are things that AI will enable. Other things to look at are marketing, efficiencies, things that have nothing to do with performance.”
Emanuel said he was impressed by the turnaround being led by Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. CEO David Zaslav, and that Walt Disney Co.’s Bob Iger would also be successful. He was critical of Paramount Global, the Redstone-family controlled parent of CBS, MTV and other channels.
“I think Zas has figured it out,” Emanuel said. “He went through that tough year where he was getting killed. Bob’s going through it now. He’s a very good executive. He’ll figure it out. I would not put my money on Paramount.”
He also questioned the outlook for Fox Corp., controlled by the Murdochs. “I think there’s gonna be rough times at Fox,” he said. “Just because the demographic is getting older and you know, you’ve got family issues.”
Emanuel had strong words for rival Creative Artists Agency, which has been sued by a former client who said the company didn’t do enough to stop producer Harvey Weinstein and his sexual harassment. Emanuel said leadership at CAA, Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, needed to step aside and permit a thorough outside investigation. CAA has called the claims “completely without merit.”
(Updates with comments on CAA, actors’ strike and media giants.)
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