John Ferriter joins Octagon

Former WMA agent takes position at sports marketing firm

Former WMA top reality agent John Ferriter, who recently parted ways with WME, has joined sports agency Octagon to spearhead the company's efforts in expanding its entertainment presence.

Based in Los Angeles, he will be managing director of Octagon Entertainment within the agency's athletes and personalities division.

Octagon's roster of clients includes Olympians Michael Phelps, Apolo Anton Ohno and Ryan Miller; tennis pro Elena Dementieva; and a number of music acts including quartet Il Divo. The company also has a large events division that owns and operates dozens sports events around the world.

"We're not agents, we're working as managers and packagers," Ferriter said of his team.

Switching from agenting to management has allowed him to bring to Octagon most of his clients, including Piers Morgan, Nancy O'Dell, Marie Osmond, Robert Horowitz's Juma Entertainment, veteran reality producer Phil Gurin, event producer Ricky Kirshner, specials director Glenn Weiss and the Miss America Organization, Ferriter said.

He said he had quietly started working at Octagon "a little while" ago and already has put together a dozen projects, including the VH1 reality show "The Tournament," starring NFL All-Pro Chad Ochocinco and co-produced by Juma.

Ferriter is coming off a tough year. He went through an acrimonious divorce with WME following the merger of WMA and Endeavor. In November, Ferriter filed a $25 million lawsuit against WME, claiming he was improperly forced out. The two sides are in arbitration.

He also had a serious health scare during the summer, spending extended time in intensive care.

The two events changed his outlook on what he should do next and sealed his decision to leave agenting.

"Instead of wasting one-third of my time on administrative matters, I can spend it working with clients, getting creative with ideas, packaging," he said.

Ferriter was executive vp, board member and worldwide head of nonscripted television at WMA, where he spent nearly 20 years.

His new job at Octagon is somewhat reminiscent of the move former HBO topper Chris Albrecht made after exiting the pay channel. He segued into a similar head of entertainment position at sports/modeling management giant IMG, which was looking to raise its entertainment profile.

Also on Thursday, Octagon announced an exclusive sports affiliation agreement with Ken Lindner & Associates, a news and hosting talent agency, to collaborate on sports, news, hosting and media client opportunities.
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