Saralegui seeks home for shingle

After eight years at 20th Century Fox, executive vice president Jorge Saralegui is ankling his post at the studio and is in negotiations with at least two other studios to establish his own production banner.

A Fox spokesman said the studio still is in talks with Saralegui to remain as a producer on the Century City lot. But according to sources at Fox, those negotiations broke down last week. It’s understood that Saralegui now is in talks with a couple of studios, including Warner Bros., which is said to be the leading contender for his banner.

Rumors of Saralegui’s eventual ankling began in April, when he was upped to exec VP after serving as senior VP of production since June 1995. The promotion came under his existing three-year contract, which was not extended and runs out in March. At the time, Saralegui was being hotly pursued by several other studios and production companies for executive posts.

While the novelist-turned-studio-exec’s decision to set up shop as a producer comes as no surprise to agents and execs in town, it was assumed that Fox would retain the producing capacities of one of its most respected executives. Neither Fox nor Saralegui would comment about his departure.

During his tenure at Fox, Saralegui is credited with shepherding through development and production such hits as “Speed,” “Independence Day,” “Broken Arrow” and “Die Hard With a Vengeance.”

He also oversaw the production of “Speed 2: Cruise Control,” current release “Alien: Resurrection” and the upcoming “Great Expectations.”

Before joining Fox, Saralegui published three novels, then worked briefly as a story analyst for IndieProd Co. He joined Fox in 1989 as a reader and was upped to creative exec and then director of production before being named VP of production in 1993.

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