LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- LeBron James' controversial ESPN special "The Decision" may have caught the former Cavalier tons of flak from fans and sports analysts alike for his false humility. But the special was a major coup for Ari Emanuel, co-CEO of William Morris Endeavor, who subverted Mr. James' own agents at rival Creative Artists Agency to put together one of the highest-rated telecasts of the year, raising $6 million in ad revenue donated to partners such as the Boys & Girls Club of America.
For his next act, Mr. Emanuel is going to attempt something even bigger -- an entertainment-marketing agency that will combine William Morris and Endeavor's resources with partners such as Red Peak Group, Red Interactive Agency and Trivergence Business Resources. The as-yet-unnamed consortium, at one point code-named LVRAGE, is expected to be a challenger of sorts to the creative and media agencies of record that also work with key WME clients such as General Motors and Hasbro, with whom Mr. Emanuel helped launch the hugely successful "Transformers" movie franchise in 2007.
Need further proof of Mr. Emanuel's influence? Just look at HBO's "Entourage," where Jeremy Piven's thinly veiled take on Mr. Emanuel, Ari Gold, has been hilariously portraying parallel storylines for seven seasons. The most familiar is the Season 6 merger of fictional agencies TWA and MGA, designed to mirror the $300 million-plus merger of William Morris and Endeavor that was playing out at the same time.