9:15am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Imagine Launches Management Division Led By Jax's Tony Hernandez (Exclusive)
Imagine Entertainment's latest venture is in the management space.
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer's sprawling company has launched Imagine Artist Management, an independent division that will help support directors, producers, actors, writers and comedians. Jax Media's Tony Hernandez will lead the newly launched management company as CEO. Hernandez's company (producers of Russian Doll, Younger) was acquired by Imagine Entertainment in 2018. He will continue to serve as partner while concurrently overseeing the management venture.
Additionally, Kara Welker — former founding partner of talent agency Generate — has been named president of Imagine Artist Management. The venture will be based in Los Angeles and New York.
"We launched Impact last year to democratize opportunities for storytellers, while empowering them with resources that we have codified over the last 35 years in the business,” Grazer and Howard said Monday in a statement. “Likewise, Imagine Artist Management will offer artists with unique voices — directors, producers, actors, writers and comedians — access to a wealth of knowledge, relationships and experience, while maintaining its independence. We are confident in Tony, Kara and their team, and in their ability to harness their collective areas of expertise to create fresh and global opportunities for their clients.”
Welker has recruited longtime colleague Dave Rath to join Imagine's management division. He will serve as a founding partner and be joined by DC Wade and Raj Raghavan. The latter duo will make the transition to management after runs as agents at WME and CAA, respectively.
"Imagine Artist Management was built to give a new face to management — one that reflects the evolution in our business. We support a full range of voices, with diversity and equal representation being a cornerstone of the company we are building,” said Welker. “We’re beyond thrilled to be partnering with a golden brand in the entertainment business, one which shares our vision for the future.”
The management division is the latest new venture for Grazer and Howard's Imagine Entertainment. The company, founded in 1986 with the goal of creating independently produced features, TV series and other content, has over the past two years expanded into new vertical units including documentary, kids and family, brands, live theater, international and TV studios via a string of acquisitions, partnerships and new hires. The company launched the global content accelerator Impact in 2018 with the program currently in its third year. Imagine invested in Jax Media early last year.
“I am excited to have this opportunity to work with Kara, Dave and Raj to help build and grow a representation company that will include fresh and contrasting perspectives from the start,” said Wade.