With the word spreading about Jim Wiatt’s likely segue into an emeritus role at WME, there’s talk inside the WMA-Endeavor camp that the board seat vacated by Wiatt will go to WMA vet Mark Itkin.
The merger agreement between Endeavor and WMA created a nine-member board to govern the agency, with five seats for WMA and four for Endeavor (though Endeavor’s seats reportedly have a little extra voting power in order to give both camps equal weight). With Wiatt’s eventual departure all but assured, the obvious WMA candidate for the seat is Itkin, the head of WMA’s powerhouse unscripted TV department. There’s no official confirmation of this yet but it makes perfect sense.
It was a big surprise last month that Itkin wasn’t on the board when the final merger details were being hashed out. That led to all kinds of chatter that he was going to pull up stakes and join a rival talent rep firm — and he had plenty of options.
But in the end it’s said that Itkin wasn’t eager to leave all of the business he’s developed during his more than 25 years with WMA. He’s also cut from the cloth of the old-school WMA leaders who were raised to be fiercely, unendingly loyal and focused on the greater good of the Morris office.
WMA insiders were buzzing with admiration about how Itkin was said to have made an impassioned statement to the WMA board on the day (April 27) they voted 19-1 on whether to approve the merger. Although Itkin had been squeezed out of what many felt was his due, a seat on the new board, he is reported to have described himself as being only a small part of the history of a great agency and that after considering the deal on the table, he realized that the Endeavor merger was a good thing for WMA over the long term, despite his personal situation.
A characteristically classy move from a classy guy was how his colleagues described Itkin’s comportment that day. Classy indeed.