Before 2009, Hollywood's largest talent agencies were known as the "big five" or "top five". In 2009 two of the agencies, Endeavor and the William Morris Agency, merged to form William Morris Endeavor (WME). The other members of the current "big four" are Creative Artists Agency (CAA), International Creative Management (ICM), and United Talent Agency (UTA).
In the 1980s new agencies were established to compete with the "Big five." In 1991 Bauer-Benedek merged with Leading Artists Agency to form what became United Talent Agency. These agencies were Traid Artists and InterTalent. Traid Artist would eventually be sold to William Morris Agency in 1992, and InterTalent would diminish when its partners dispersed between UTA and ICM in the same year.They have hundreds of agents globally, and offer representation in multiple areas (acting, below the line talent, IP rights holders, film, directing, television, publishing, commercials, sports, digital media, literary, music, theater, endorsements, corporate consulting, public speaking, producers, screen writers, voice-overs, video games,visual arts and design and intellectual property). Emerging technology companies and corporate brands in a variety of practice areas including film, television, music, digital media, intellectual property, computer and video games, commercials, voice-overs, endorsements, branding & licensing, corporate consulting and entertainment marketing.
Below is a list of the largest agencies and the top names that they represented as of 2006:
- WME (WMA and Endeavor): Ben Affleck, Steve Carell, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Ben Stiller, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Lopez, Martin Scorsese, Kevin Spacey, Justin Timberlake, Mark Wahlberg, and Denzel Washington, andCatherine Zeta-Jones
- CAA: Drew Barrymore, Sandra Bullock, Nicolas Cage, Jim Carrey, George Clooney, Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves, Meg Ryan, Will Smith, Meryl Streep, Robin Williams, and Bruce Willis
- ICM: Jodie Foster, Mel Gibson, Samuel L. Jackson, Steve Martin, Kim Catrall and Susan Sarandon
- UTA: Johnny Depp, Harrison Ford, Wesley Snipes and Owen Wilson
As the agencies began to represent a variety of different talents they began to package their clients together to make them more appealing to the studios, and to get more work for their "less talented" artists. This is a similar structure to what the studios were doing with selling films to the theaters. CAA packaged stars Bill Murray and Harold Ramis with director Ivan Reitman. "Packaging became widely regarded as one of the clearest demonstrations of agents extending their powers by assuming a role in the development of projects which formerly would have been undertaken by the studios."