Oprah Winfrey has landed at WME, having taken her time to settle on a new percentery after leaving CAA last month.
The Winfrey signing could be a bonanza for WME, which will rep the media mogul across all of her many business entities, including cabler OWN. It also comes at a time when she is rekindling her thesping career: Winfrey will be onscreen in a narrative pic for the first time since 1998’s “Beloved” with a starring role opposite Forest Whitaker in Lee Daniels’ “The Butler,” due out later this year from the Weinstein Co.
Recruiting Winfrey is a coup for WME at a time when agencies prize clients who work in multiple media and entertainment arenas — pretty much the definition of Winfrey’s Harpo empire. WME co-topper Ari Emanuel led agency’s concerted push to woo Winfrey.
It’s unclear how much time Winfrey intends to devote to acting work but WME will undoubtedly look to secure potential properties for her. Winfrey is currently under pressure to focus on OWN, her joint venture with Discovery Communications that’s in the midst of a turnaround after a rocky run since its on-air debut in 2011. Winfrey’s much publicized sit-down with Lance Armstrong last week helped reinforce her megastar status.
In addition to OWN, Harpo has a telepic development deal with HBO.