Squelching the biggest buzz in town (for the time being), Warner Bros. went on the record Monday to dismiss rumors that Mark Canton is taking over as head of production.
Canton has a production deal with WB and there has been continuing speculation that he would segue into a top production executive slot at the Burbank studio. Those rumors have caused havoc in Hollywood among producers, agents and even major talent who are working with Warner Bros.
“Mark Canton is a producer with us. We’ve had no meetings with him, no conversations at all” regarding an executive slot, said WB chairman and co-CEO Robert Daly. “There is no truth to any of those reports.”
Co-presidents of production Lorenzo Di Bonaventura and Billy Gerber run the studio’s feature production unit, but both ex-ecs came under fire for last year’s dismal B.O. perf.
“It’s not like Warner Bros. is at a standstill because everyone hears this rumor about Canton,” Daly said. “There is nothing that is taking place that would give any filmmakers who deal with us a different impression.”
One producer, however, disagreed. “You can’t get anything finalized,” he said. “It just seems like it’s frozen.”
Canton, meanwhile, started production Monday on “Jack Frost,” starring Michael Keaton and Kelly Preston.
WB admits that it’s still looking for a head of marketing to replace Chris Pula, who departed a few months ago.
Virtually the only major change on the WB lot of late was the ankling of top production execs Tracy Barone Glaser and Christian Moerk from the Jon Peters Co. Both execs departed recently and, in Moerk’s case, abruptly, over differences with Peters, and they have not been replaced.
— Dan Cox and Chris Petrikin
* * *
Contracts are up in May for three senior programming execs at NBC. Karey Burke, senior VP of primetime programs; Shel-ley McCrory, vice president of primetime series; and John Landgraf, also a veep of primetime series, are all negotiating contract renewals in the midst of the development season. NBC called the negotiations “routine.” However, at least one of the execs, Burke, has received outside overtures, sources say.
— Jenny Hontz