Chris Harbert is calling it a wrap on his talent agency career. The veteran TV packaging agent, who was part of the team that launched UTA in 1991 and has spent the past 20 years at CAA, will retire from the agency business at the end of this month.
Harbert indicated that he’s looking for a new chapter of his career, but he declined to elaborate beyond a statement given to Variety.
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to spend 35 years as an advocate and an agent, the last 20-plus at the best agency in the world, Creative Artists Agency,” said Harbert. “I am very thankful that CAA allowed me to pursue many passions in many lanes, especially television, film and production. I have been blessed to be able to work with some of the most talented artists, colleagues, and executives and I could not have imagined a more professionally fulfilling journey over the last three-and-a-half decades. As the global content business continues to evolve, I am excited for what lies ahead.”
Harbert moved to CAA in its TV packaging department in 2002 after rising to partner and co-head of the TV department at UTA. He was part of the founding group of agents who launched UTA out of the merger of Leading Artists Agency and Bauer-Benedek. Harbert joined Leading Artists as an agent in 1988, having started his career in the mailroom at ICM.
“Throughout the course of his incredible 20-year run at CAA, Chris has been an innovative, entrepreneurial, and forward-thinking agent,” said Steve Lafferty, managing partner of CAA. “He has conducted his business with tremendous integrity, and delivered outstanding results for many of our clients. We celebrate Chris as he retires from the agency business and are excited for what his future holds in store.”
Among the significant transactions that Harbert helped orchestrate during his time at CAA was the 2013 pact between Disney, Marvel Television and Netflix that yielded four straight-to-series orders for high-profile titles including “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron First.” The deal was an early signal that Netflix was prepared to spend big and think big to become a force in original series content.
Harbert had been the longtime agent for Joss Whedon, the multihyphenate behind “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Disney’s early “Avengers” franchise films. Whedon followed Harbert when the latter made the move to CAA. But amid a cascade of allegations and scrutiny of his past actions by former industry colleagues and some actors who appeared in his movies and TV series, CAA parted ways with Whedon as a client in early 2022. Whedon has steadfastly denied some of the claims that have been leveled against him.
At present, Harbert present serves on the board of Cinespace Studios, a global platform of production facilities, and the board of the Chad A. Jacobs Foundation.