Jason Heyman and Martin Lesak left their longtime UTA posts as agents and partners Friday to become agents at CAA.
It was unclear which of their clients would follow, but the move puts Will Ferrell and Dave Chappelle in play.
Heyman had been a film agent while Lesak was head of UTA’s television talent division.
Aside from Ferrell and Chappelle, other agency clients with whom they were involved include Drew Carey, Patricia Heaton, Jason Biggs, Seth Meyers (“Saturday Night Live”), Andy Richter, Eugene Levy, Amanda Bynes, Jason Alexander, Chris Noth and Roseanne.
Possible client fallout will become clear over the next few weeks, though it was widely rumored that Ferrell would follow Heyman. Chappelle, who has largely been AWOL since signing a huge Comedy Central deal to continue his show, also was viewed as vulnerable.
A spokesman for UTA said the agency wished both exiting reps well.
CAA has cherry-picked a number of top-tier agents recently. Observers said if Ferrell and Chappelle do leave, the hires would serve two strategic purposes. Prying Ferrell away slightly loosens the stranglehold UTA currently has on male stars who topline comedies. As for Lesak, his hire gives CAA a seasoned hand in talent development to a department that already has a strong packaging mechanism.
CAA brass hailed the hires.
“Jason and Martin have tremendous passion for their jobs and for their clients,” CAA prexy Richard Lovett said in a statement. “Their strengths as agents complement well our existing strengths and further fuel our commitment to client service.”