×

CAA’s Eric Wattenberg Joins Wheelhouse Group as Chief Content Officer

Eric Wattenberg, longtime CAA agent and co-head of its alternative television department, has joined producer Brent Montgomery’s Wheelhouse Group as chief content officer.

Wattenberg will spearhead content development across Wheelhouse’s TV, film and digital operations, as well as its Wheelhouse Labs branded entertainment wing. The deal is a coup for the company, launched by “Pawn Stars” creator Montgomery in January 2018 after getting his final payout on the $360 million sale of his previous Leftfield Entertainment banner to ITV Studios.

Over the past two years, Wheelhouse has set up creative pacts with Jimmy Kimmel’s Kimmelot, actor-producer Zachary Quinto and athletes such as Steph Curry, Carmelo Anthony and Odell Beckham Jr. Wheelhouse owns a majority interest in Den of Thieves, the live event production company, and it has a range of interests in production banners including Campfire, Spoke Studios and Portal A.

Montgomery, CEO of Wheelhouse, recruited Wattenberg to oversee content development as Montgomery turns his focus to generating sources of production financing directly from advertisers and on consumer product development. Wheelhouse has made a number of investments in startups and budding businesses that have potential to be adapted into media properties.

To date, Wheelhouse has invested a handful of companies including men’s activewear line Rhone, live outdoor exercise service Hydrow, culinary community Food52 and children’s media company Goldieblox, which makes engineering-related toys designed for girls.

Wattenberg was an ideal choice for the chief content officer role because of the depth of his relationships in the creative community and his experience in packaging series projects for a wide swath of TV buyers.

“I was looking for someone with my level of relationships with buyers and producers to take a lot of stuff off my plate,” Montgomery told Variety. “I needed somebody who could keep up with the ambition of what we’re trying to build.”

Based in New York, Wattenberg has been with CAA since 2009, rising to co-head of its alternative TV arm with Alan Braun, who is based in Los Angeles. Before CAA, Wattenberg was an agent at N.S Bienstock and at William Morris Agency. Montgomery noted that his first-ever meeting at an agency was with Wattenberg. The two have been friends and colleagues ever since.

During his tenure at CAA, Wattenberg’s clients have encompassed marquee names — Kelly Ripa, Andy Cohen, Nick Cannon, Hoda Kotb, Billy Porter and Neil Patrick Harris among them — and production banners such as Imagine Entertainment, BBC Worldwide Prods. and Matador Entertainment. Wattenberg called CAA “a remarkable agency that makes you want to be the very best,” but the chance to shift gears and work with Montgomery was too compelling to turn down.

“Brent’s vision for Wheelhouse Group as an aggregator of talent, content, brands and capital feels like a swing for the fences in the evolution of our business. It is a uniquely exciting, entrepreneurial prospect that I simply couldn’t pass up,” Wattenberg said. “I am incredibly grateful to my colleagues at CAA for the amazing opportunities and friendship they have offered me over 10 years, and I plan on continuing to work with them very closely in this new venture.”

More Biz

  • Andrew Weatherall at Caught by the

    British DJ-Producer Andrew Weatherall Dies at 56

    British music producer, DJ and record-label founder Andrew Weatherall, who co-produced Primal Scream’s landmark 1991 album “Screamadelica” and helped bring the acid house genre into the mainstream, died Monday in a London hospital from a pulmonary embolism, his management confirmed to the Guardian. He was 56. “He was being treated in hospital but unfortunately the [...]

  • Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should

    Bertelsmann CEO Says RTL, ProSiebenSat.1 Should Be Free to Merge

    The CEO of German media giant Bertelsmann has said its RTL Group TV division should be allowed to merge with German rival ProSiebenSat.1 and called for a loosening of E.U. antitrust regulations in order to better stave off intensifying competition from U.S. streaming giants. In an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung published on [...]

  • Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following

    Politicians and Petition Support BBC Following Reports of Major Cuts

    A war of words around the future of the BBC continued on Monday amid reports of severe cutbacks to the U.K. public broadcaster. The Sunday Times reported over the weekend that Downing Street, the seat of the U.K. government, was planning to replace the annual BBC license fee with a subscription service; sell most of [...]

  • Sharp Objects

    Entertainment One Commits to Drama: 'Hasbro Bought the Business to Expand It'

    “Sharp Objects” and “Run” producer-distributor Entertainment One is reassuring partners of its commitment to drama following its acquisition by toy giant Hasbro. EOne has always cultivated a strong set of procedurals, such as ABC’s Nathan Fillion-starrer “The Rookie” and Fox’s Stephen Dorff-led “Deputy,” but has also gained traction with cable propositions such as HBO’s “Sharp [...]

  • United States President Barack Obama (L)

    Barack Obama on Kobe Bryant's Death: 'Nothing Is More Heartbreaking'

    President Barack Obama spoke about the heartbreaking deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and the seven other victims of the shocking helicopter crash last month. “That loss is something that I know many are still grappling with — particularly, Kobe, because he was with his daughter and those families and those children. And those [...]

  • Kobe Bryant Dead

    How to Get Tickets to the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service

    The Los Angeles Lakers have announced that fans that wish to attend the public memorial of Kobe and Gianna Bryant can register for tickets online beginning Friday. The memorial will take place at 10 a.m. on Feb. 24 at Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Kobe and Gianna Bryant were among the nine killed in a helicopter [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content