New sr. veep reunited with prexy Berman

The worst-kept secret out of the Fox network camp is official: Tracy Katsky has departed Regency TV to take over as head of comedy development at the web.

Katsky’s appointment had been in the works for weeks (Daily Variety, Oct. 3). Regency has replaced Katsky with Erin Simon Berenson, who formerly led Ben Stiller’s production house (Daily Variety, Oct. 4).

The Katsky hire reteams her with former Regency TV topper and current Fox Entertainment prexy Gail Berman. As senior veepee of comedy development, Katsky will report to Fox’s exec veep of programming, David Nevins.

“I’m so happy to be reunited with such a talented friend and colleague as Tracy,” Berman said. “We worked very well together at Regency, and I look forward to continuing our partnership developing distinctive comedies here at Fox.”

The net hasn’t had a senior veep of comedy since Cheryl Bayer departed in March 1999. Kelly Kulchak, who headed the department as vice president of comedy since then, has departed Fox for other opportunities.

Meanwhile, Berenson steps in as senior vice president of comedy development at Regency, making her Peter Aronson’s first major hire since he replaced Berman as president of the boutique studio in August.

Berenson, who reports to Aronson, will immediately take over development for midseason and fall 2001.

“Working with Ben Stiller, Erin comes from an environment that supports an entrepreneurial and dedicated approach to quality, which is exactly how we operate at Regency,” Aronson said.

‘Middle’ road

Katsky had been senior VP of comedy at Regency since April. She joined the production house in June 1998 and helped develop Fox hit “Malcolm in the Middle” and NBC frosh comedy “Tucker,” among other projects.

Katsky’s resume also includes stints as director of development at Sandollar Prods.; development associate at Foxlab and Castle Rock; and talent exec-booker for HBO’s “Mr. Show With Bob and David.”

While at Ben Stiller’s Red Hour Films, Berenson helped develop and produce cult fave-busted pilot “Heat Vision and Jack” for the Greenblatt-Janollari Studio. Berenson joined Red Hour in 1998; prior to that, she served for three years as head of TV development for Tom Arnold’s Clean Break Prods.

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