EXCLUSIVE: Respected TV lit agents David Stone, a partner at WME, and Ben Jacobson, a partner at UTA, are leaving their respective agencies to launch a management company together, The Framework Collective.
Stone and Jacobson’s careers had been on parallel tracks since they started in the mailroom at UTA — one week apart from one another — in 2005. They became fast friends, then competitors for many years until they recently decided to partner up, bringing together a combined 30 years of experience.
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Stone’s exit from WME and Jacobson’s from UTA were both amicable; I hear both agents had time left on their contracts but were released so their can pursue their vision and start the new venture.
“We are so excited to launch this company together,” Jacobson and Stone said in a statement. “The Framework Collective is a startup that is singularly focused on delivering excellent management to our clients through passionate advocacy, strategic thinking, and meaningful collaboration. We have a deep appreciation for our time spent at UTA and WME and greatly value the relationships we formed over the years and look forward to continuing those relationships in our new roles.”
Stone was In his second year at the Peter Stark Producing Program when he landed a job at UTA. He moved to WMA in 2007 and then transitioned to WME following the 2009 merger with Endeavor. He became partner in 2016. At WME, Stone, who was featured on THR’s 35 Under 35 list, built a roster of top TV showrunners. He is an Associate Professor at USC’s film school in the Peter Stark Producers Program, is the City of Los Angeles Convention Center and Tourism Board Commissioner for Mayor Eric Garcetti, and serves on the Wesleyan University President’s Council.
“We’re proud of all of David’s accomplishments during his time with us – from the WMA and Endeavor merger through today,” said WME’s Co-Head of Television Paul Haas. “We’ll miss him as a colleague, but know we will remain friends, and wish him all the best in his next chapter.”
Jacobson has spent his career to date at UTA where he was elevated to partner in 2019. He has helped build the careers of several top show creators and showrunners across animation, comedy and drama.
“Over the past 15 years, I have witnessed Ben grow and develop his career from starting in the UTA mailroom to joining our partnership ranks,” said UTA Co-President Jay Sures. “Throughout his tenure, he has been a fierce advocate for his clients and has been a great friend and colleague to many of us across the agency. We are excited for him to embark on this new venture and wish him and David the best of luck.”
The profound changes in the TV industry over the past few years and the standoff between the big agencies and the WGA had put a strain on the overall TV lit business, which got exacerbated by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that brought TV production to a halt. There have been several high-profile TV lit agents who recently segued to management, including WME’s Theresa Kang-Lowe and Matt Solo.
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