10:00am PT by Matthew Belloni , Chris Gardner
Ari Emanuel Surprises Former Assistants With Cartier Watches
A version of this story first appeared in the Jan. 15 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
It pays to serve time as Ari Emanuel's assistant.
The famously hard-charging superagent and WME-IMG co-CEO shut the company's commissary at its Beverly Hills headquarters before the holidays for a private lunch to personally thank every current WME employee who has toiled for him over the years. About 20 former call-rollers (from his first helper back at Endeavor, now-partner Adriana Alberghetti, to his most recent, the just-promoted Alex Rowley) gathered at the Jack and Ben's eatery, where they were asked to share their favorite Ari "horror story" (most involved shouting and frustration over the tardiness of various forms of transportation).
Emanuel, famously parodied by Jeremy Piven's Ari Gold on HBO's Entourage, is known as an especially demanding boss, even in the cutthroat agency world. Those who toil on his desk, however, often go on to successful careers in Hollywood.
And Ari isn't without a gracious streak. At the end of the lunch, Emanuel handed out holiday cards and an appropriate gift: Everyone in attendance received a Cartier watch as payback for all that lost time.