By now you've heard the offense against basketball star LeBron James' one-hour TV special to announce his team choice -- that it was narcissistic, sullied his brand and blurred the journalistic line for ESPN. But what you haven't heard is the defense of the man who helped put the show together: uber-agent Ari Emanuel, who says "The Decision" forwarded the paradigm for advertiser-funded programming.
In an exclusive interview with Advertising Age, Mr. Emanuel, co-CEO of the William Morris Endeavor agency, helped fill in some of the gaps on the backstory of how the program came together, and addressed the naysayers.
"Everybody can say what they want -- it was the wrong decision, there was too much hoopla, whatever -- but for me it was about doing the event, getting the advertisers to participate and doing it for charity," Mr. Emanuel said. "This was a major success for advertisers, and we're getting closer to pushing the needle on advertiser-content programming."