Steel has bad heir day at Turner

It’s no deal for Dawn Steel with Turner Pictures.

Sources said Wednesday that Hollywood’s best-known female ex-exec didn’t want to be killed, much less eaten at the Turner factory, where she would have run the show and been been responsible for four to six pix a year.

Steel and the nascent filmco mutually agreed to forget the deal after months of highlypublicized rumors of haggling over job responsibilities and seniority levels. “Negotiations broke off, period,” said one source in the Steel camp. “There’s no good guy or girl here.”

Turner officials had no comment, but sources close to the top said the “wrestling match” of a deal was too difficult to pin down.

Steel was reportedly unhappy with job restrictions that would have supplanted her complete control over the small company.

She would have reported to Turner Entertainment Group prexy Scott Sassa.

Apparently, Steel wanted to greenlight pix without having to report to anyone. Industry insiders claim anything less was unacceptable to the former prexy of Columbia Pictures and prexy of production at Paramount Pictures.

Turner sources said no new candidates for the job have been lined up.

Steel had been considered for the post on her own merit as well as her friendship with Ted Turner’s wife, Jane Fonda.

A Fonda-Steel pairing would have put Turner at the forefront of producing pix for and about women.

Current Turner Pix prexy Dennis Miller has said the company was already committed to doing more women’s films.

Fonda and Turner could not be reached for comment.

Steel, who donned a producer’s hat last year with “Cool Runnings,” reportedly will continue producing.

Steel’s decision ironically is in keeping with her own advice in her recent book of Hollywood exploits, “They Can Kill You, But They Can’t Eat You.”

In a section on dealmaking, Steel said: “If you are negotiating from a place of desperation, you’re dead. You have to be willing to let it go.”

That said, it’s back to the drawing board for Turner Pix.

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