Peter Kafka

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Is Google Getting a Hollywood Tour Guide? Former William Morris Boss Jim Wiatt May Take YouTube Consulting Gig.

hollywood

Does Google need a Hollywood guide?

It may be getting one: Jim Wiatt, the former head of the fabled William Morris talent agency, has been talking to the company about a consulting gig for its YouTube video site.

Wiatt, who is leaving his old job in the aftermath of his agency’s highly contentious merger with the Endeavor agency, discussed the idea with Google and YouTube executives in Mountain View last week, multiple sources said.

Wiatt hasn’t signed a deal and may end up pursuing something else instead, I’m told.

But the role would make sense, given that Wiatt has already served as a de facto guide for Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who has been trying to ingratiate his company with studio and network executives for some time.

(Schmidt has spent enough time in Hollywood to justify plunking down a reported $20 million for an estate in Montecito, a wealthy resort town an hour or so outside of Beverly Hills.)

Google (GOOG) has tried to convince Hollywood to bring more of its content over to the world’s largest video site, but its biggest players have so far resisted, offering the site promotional trailers but little else. Meanwhile Hulu, the joint venture between News Corp.’s (NWS) Fox, GE’s (GE) NBC and Disney’s (DIS) ABC has staked out a reputation as the go-to site for free “premium” movies and TV shows.

Earlier this year, reports surfaced that William Morris and Google had reached a pact that would steer the agency’s high-profile clients to make and star in YouTube videos.

Neither company ever formally acknowledged the so-called “YouTube Gold” program, and it’s not clear if it ever got off the ground. But, in any case, William Morris has more or less been absorbed by onetime rival Endeavor, headed by Ari Emanuel, leaving Wiatt looking for other work.

Wiatt, via a spokesman, declined to comment. YouTube offered up this statement via email: “We are constantly exploring opportunities to reward the talented members of the YouTube community, including helping to distribute their content around the Web and beyond.”

[News Corp. owns Dow Jones, which owns this Web site.]

[Image credit: Sorn]


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