The Top 10 Best Talent Agencies Comparison (Updated for 2024)


By Assemble

April 25, 2024

How do producers find actors? For the most part, it is done through talent agencies. Connecting the right actors with casting directors, filmmakers, and producers is integral to the creative process. We have compiled an essential list of the best Hollywood, New York, or regional talent agencies.

But first, what exactly is a talent agent's role, and how are they a valuable resource for the talent they represent and the production teams hiring them?

What Is a Talent Agent & What Does a Talent Agent Do?

A talent agent finds jobs for actors, writers, directors, broadcast journalists, professional athletes, models, musicians, and other roles in various entertainment or broadcast businesses. 

This is important for anyone seeking representation to remember. Actors, in particular, are often focused on getting that Beverly Hills agent, but what exactly can an actor expect once they have one? 

Producers and actors should never forget that an agent represents the talent’s interests, not the other way around. Actors pay an agent a percentage of each job booked; therefore, the talent is in charge. Too often, actors don't drive their careers, but they should. Working with agents is the norm and should be respected, but producers should not underestimate a personal relationship with an actor. Being an artist means being as interested in the storytelling as the paycheck. Treat both with equal importance when making an offer.

What Are Talent Agencies Good For?

A talent agency's central values are access, relationships, and negotiating skills. They set up meetings and auditions to attach their clients to potential projects. They are also responsible for negotiating the best deal for their clients.

A good agent is also an actor’s trusted ally, offering advice and insight on everything from what projects to do to what endorsement deals to sign. When a personal issue arises, they can also work with the talent’s publicist and management team to devise the best response.

What Are the Different Types of Talent Agencies?

Finding the most skilled painter is useless if you need a plumber. The same principle applies to talent representation. For example, connecting with a sports agent when seeking to cast a social media influencer on TikTok will not help you. Producers should research and know which agencies or agents to contact for the type of talent they seek. 

For talent, you don’t need the best agent in the business; you need the best agent for you. Here is a breakdown of the different types of talent agents: 

  • Theatrical Agents
  • Commercial Agents
  • Literary Agents
  • Broadcast Journalist Agents
  • Sports Agents
  • Modeling Agents
  • Music Agents

Comparison Chart of Top Agencies by Type

Many talent agencies serve a variety of clientele. 

It is common for an established agency to have diverse interests. It is well known that they represent screenwriters, directors, producers, SAG-AFTRA actors, and other talent in big-name Hollywood projects. However, they also represent actors in other deals such as sponsorships, speakerships, brand initiatives, fashion, and endorsements. 

However, some are known as leaders in specific disciplines. Below is a comparison chart of seven influential talent agencies delineated by roster strength for specific types of talent.

It’s important to note that a roster's strength does not always reflect its primary representation. For example, UTA is a leader in theatrical production, but also has a strong presence among professional broadcasters.





William Morris Endeavor (WME)

Theatrical (Film, Stage, TV)



There are many powerhouse theatrical agencies, but WMA has been a consistent leader since its establishment in 1898. A merger with Endeavor saw them become WME and increased their reach and presence in the industry.

CESD Talent Agency 

Commercial Voice-Over  

CESD is one of the nation’s most prestigious agencies for commercial and voice-over talent and is fast becoming a dominant force in the industry.



A boutique agency with an impressive roster of writers. Known for advocating fiercely for their talent.

United Talent Agency (UTA)


With clients such as Anderson Cooper, Brooke Baldwin and Brian Kilmeade, UTA is a leader in representing journalists.



Octagon has an elite roster of sports talent, including Steph Curry and Simone Biles.

IMG Models


Diverse and exciting talent, stable and engaged agent base.

Creative Artists Agency (CAA)


CAA, a premier theatrical talent agency, also boasts an impressive music roster, including Ariana Grande, Jennifer Lopez, and Justin Beiber.

What Are the Top Talent Agencies? Here’s Our Overall Best Top Talent List:

This list represents the top ten most influential talent agencies in the United States. The staggering amount of talent on their client lists tells you everything you need to know. But you might be wondering, what are the pros and cons of joining the roster of a top-tier talent agency?

Pros: For producers, this means immediate access to talent that can lead to funding and distribution. For talent, being represented by any of these agencies puts you at the front of the line at casting companies, streaming platforms (such as Netflix and HBO Max), networks, management companies, and studios.

Cons: A less established producer might get less consideration at a large agency. It could still be difficult for them to attach A-list talent. Emerging artists must compete with a long line of notable clients for an agent’s attention. Additionally, established agencies are often not in the business of developing talent. So, they might not be the best talent agency for beginners who need help with rudimentary tasks such as choosing headshots or finding acting classes.

1.   Creative Artists Agency (CAA) (Best Talent Agency Overall)

In 2022, CAA merged with ICM, another top-tier talent agency. Their growth has been immense, so they have edged out WME as our pick for the best talent agency in the entertainment industry. 


  • Bryan Lourd (Managing Partner) 
  • Hylda Queally (Motion Picture Talent Agent) 
  • Tracy Brennan (Motion Picture Talent Agent) 
  • Franklin Latt (Co-Head, Motion Picture Talent) 


TOP TALENT: Eiza González | Florence Pugh | Rebecca Ferguson | Zendaya | Ana de Armas | Cillian Murphy | Tom Cruise | Mckenna Grace | Jenna Ortega | Ryan Gosling

2.   William Morris Endeavor (WME)


  • Elan Ruspoli (Partner) 
  • Ari Emanuel (CEO) 
  • Patrick Whitesell (Executive Chairman) 
  • James Farrell (Partner)
  • Andrew Dunlap (Partner, Head of Talent Division) 


TOP TALENT: Tom Holland | Jake Gyllenhaal | Emma Stone | Austin Butler | Millie Bobby Brown | Adam Sandler | Bryce Dallas Howard | Henry Cavill | Ella Purnell | Barry Keoghan

3.    United Talent Agency (UTA)


  • Stephen Travierso (Talent Agent) 
  • Danie Streisand (Partner, Talent Agent) 
  • Theresa Peters (Partner, Talent Agent) 
  • Billy Lazarus (Partner, Talent Agent) 


TOP TALENT: Theo James | Billy Magnussen | Bryan Cranston | Giancarlo Esposito | Lily James | Carrie Coon | Morena Baccarin | Arnold Schwarzenegger | Timothée Chalamet 

4.    The Gersh Agency


  • Rhonda Price (Partner, Talent Agent) 
  • Charlie Jennings (Senior Talent Agent) 
  • Alexander Yarosh (Partner, Head of Talent)
  • Elizabeth Wiederseim (Talent Agent)
  • Established by Phil Gersh 


TOP TALENT: Daniela Melchior | Sam Elliot | Miranda Cosgrove | Melanie Lynskey | Ariel Winter | Hiroyuki Sanada | Julia Stiles | Winona Ryder | Jacob Elordi | Elizabeth Olsen

5.   Paradigm Talent Agency


  • Jennifer Millar (Partner, Talent Agent)
  • Stephanie Ramsey (Partner)
  • Scott Melrose (Talent Agent)
  • Sarah Fargo (Partner)


TOP TALENT: Sydney Sweeney | Liam Cunningham | Alice Kremelberg | Travis Fimmel | Ed Speleers | Yvonne Strahovski | Celeste O’Connor | Darren Barnet | Brian Cox 

6.    Innovative Artists


  • Abby Bluestone (Talent Agent) 
  • Josiah Akinyele (Talent Agent)
  • Rob Cassandro (Talent Agent) 
  • Jaime Misher (Talent Agent)


TOP TALENT: Annie Wesching | Ming-Na Wen | Mia Kirshner | Hannah Love Lanier | Perry Mattfeld | Annie Potts | Katrina Law | Ashley Johnson | | Sophia Ali | Amanda Seyfried

7. Independent Artist Group (IAG)


  • Jim Osborne (CEO) 
  • Kris Heller (Talent Agent) 
  • Jeff Witjas (Partner, SVP)
  • Barry McPherson (Partner, EVP)


TOP TALENT: Julie Michaels | Lindsey Lohan | Alicia Witt | Cole Hauser | Sara Rue | Olivia d'Abo | Mel Gibson | Gary Oldman | Lily Gladstone | Alyson Hannigan | Joseph Sikora

8.   Buchwald


  • Julia Buchwald (President)
  • Ryan Martin (Co-Head, West Coast, Talent Agent)
  • Tim Weissman (Talent Agent)
  • Leslie Zaslower (Talent Agent)


TOP TALENT: Emily Swallow | Vinne Jones | Caylee Cowan | Sea Shimooka | Ralph Macchio | Dar Salim | Rosalind Chao | Rhona Mitra | Keith David | Meredith Garretson

9.    A3 Artists Agency


  • Adam Bold (Chairman)
  • Kasey Muraszko (Talent Agent, Television Literary)
  • Charles Kopelman (Partner, Talent Agent)
  • Jerry Kallarakkal (Talent Agent, Commercial)


TOP TALENT: Emily Swallow | Kelly LeBrock | Alice Kremelberg | Kelly Stables | Melissa O’Neil | Micheal York | Michael Ironside | Jason Alexander | Eden Sher | Michael Richards

10. Stewart Talent


  • Valerie Chiovetti (Talent Agenct, Commercial Department)
  • Bonnie Shumofsky (Talent Agent, Head of Children/Young Adult Department)
  • Daniel Ortega (Talent Agent, Theatrical)
  • Jay Schachter (Talent Agent, Head of Film & Television)


TOP TALENT: Sean Astin | Stephen McKinley Henderson | Traci Lords | Carol Kane | Nicky Whelen | Barbara Bain | Claire Coffee | Gatan Matarazzo | Robert Knepper

The Best Acting Agents

If you are the company you keep, then the best way to explore who the best acting agents would be is through the best actors working today. We’ve done a bit of digging and found some stellar insight into three top agents and managers.

Profile: Kevin Huvane / CAA

Who he represents: Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Florence Pugh, Steven Speilberg, Natalie Portman, and Tom Cruise.

See a pattern? It’s not by accident, but by design, that Kevin Huvane has compiled a track record of working with strong female actors and role models. He told New York Minute Magazine 

 “I so vividly remember my mom sitting me down at her kitchen table and saying, ‘Where are my movies? Why aren’t you making movies for us?’' In that moment, Huvane knew that he had to push for movies driven by complex female characters like The Devil Wears Prada, starring Meryl Streep, and Gravity, starring Sandra Bullock. He calls the emphasis on these films and character roles “not just a smart decision and a moral and ethical decision […], but it’s profitable.” He adds, “If you make these movies and you make them well, lots of people go see them.”

Profile: Rich Yorn / LBI Entertainment (Manager)

Who he represents: Leonardo DiCaprio, Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Lawrence, Martin Scorsese, Reese Witherspoon, and Jaime Foxx. 

At elite status in the film industry or on a TV show, an actor often turns exclusively to talent management companies. There are many reasons for this, but some actors turn to managers because their talent roster is usually much smaller. This means they can pay closer attention to an actor’s career and goals. With a superstar manager, you don’t need an agent to submit for jobs because studios and producers are coming to you. Having a manager to field those offers and guide your overall career path is valuable. 

Profile: Andrew Finkelstein / WME

Who he represents: Richard Gere, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Denzel Washington, Nicholas Cage, and Rachel McAdams.

Finkleman is an agent with vision and balance. He can get Denzel Washington the big payday for a blockbuster like The Equalizer and also support his passion projects, such as the recent The Tragedy of Macbeth. 

When his client Richard Gere won a lifetime achievement award in acting at the Hampton Film Festival, Finkleman was front and center and even fielded questions from Gere from the podium. When the moderator asked if Gere’s sexual iconography with roles such as American Gigolo had gotten in the way, he tossed the question to Finkleman, who offered that the agency was not keen on some of the sexy magazine covers Gere did as he “was a better actor than a hunk”.

The Top Regional Entertainment Agencies

Above, we created a list of the top ten talent agencies based on their standing in the film industry and their relationships with motion picture studios, producers, entertainment executives, casting directors, and top-tier talent. 

But what if you are working outside those production hubs of Los Angeles or New York City? To help guide your research, here is a list of the top talent agencies in bustling production cities in other states.



Why We Like It


Radical Artists Agency

Great relationships with talent and deep industry ties.


Houghton Talent

Stellar reputation and impressive local talent pool in Atlanta.


Actor’s Talent Group

A boutique agency with a strong track record.


Actor’s Choice Talent Agency

Career building aesthetic, friendly and busy agency. 

North Carolina

JTA Talent

Personable agents, great relationships with both talent and casting/producers.

New Mexico

Mitchell and Associates Talent

High quality talent in the southeast market.


The Horne Agency

Beloved by talent, personal attention, and great outreach.

Best Talent Agencies for New Actors

What producer doesn’t want to discover the next big thing? Some agents specialize in burgeoning talent. What does this entail? 

Creating opportunity and development. 

One of the best ways for a new actor to develop and gain valuable on-set experience is through background work. The largest casting company that specializes in background, stand-in, or double work is Central Casting

Another way for an actor to find success in the film and TV industries is by rising through the ranks of the stage. For example, an agency with ties to TV, film and theater is The Talent House. They are more likely to have agents scouting comedians at improv shows or actors on the stage to develop for film and TV careers.

A smaller boutique agency is often the best fit for an actor looking to build their resume. They are also the best solution for producers looking for an actor on the cusp of mainstream success. 

Some well-respected boutique agencies in the entertainment industry are The Kohner Agency, AEFH Talent Agency, and Osbrink Talent Agency. These agencies have a smaller but more personal client list.

Best Acting Agencies for Teens

Working with child actors comes with added responsibility. It’s important to work with an agency that has a dedicated division for youth talent, understands child actor laws, and is committed to safety and security.

Below, we’ve compiled five acting and modeling agencies respected for their youth representation.

  1. CESD Talent Agency
  2. Osbrink Talent Agency
  3. AKA
  4. Coast to Coast Talent Group
  5. DDO

What Are the Best Acting Agencies for Me?

If you are a producer, the best agencies are the ones with access to the talent that you need. However, you shouldn’t limit yourself to the elite agencies. Smaller boutique agencies also have up-and-coming talent that will serve your project well. During this process, cast a wide net to evaluate as much talent as possible. 

Most actors starting out in the entertainment industry don’t have an abundant choice. Usually, they will sign with the first agency or management company that shows interest in them. There is nothing wrong with beginning a relationship with a boutique agency. In fact, growing together can make for a mutually beneficial relationship. There is also nothing wrong with outgrowing your representation and shopping around for the best fit once your career begins to take off.

Key Takeaways

Producers should understand the talent they wish to hire and seek out agencies that specialize in that field. 

Actors should understand their strengths and interests. If you are primarily looking to work in the film and television industry, a theatrical agent is your best bet. 

If you are a hybrid actor who also has an interest in modeling, seek out talent agents who are equally experienced in both fields.

The best talent agencies and agents believe in their clients, are willing to go to bat for them, and know how to grow their careers for years to come.

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