Vet exec Harris ankling New Line

Production/development division getting makeover

After nearly a decade with New Line Cinema, executive VP of production Lynn Harris is negotiating her exit with the studio.

Harris has been negotiating her deal for several weeks. It’s unclear which projects she might continue producing with New Line.

Harris reps one of several significant changes in New Line’s production and development division.

In February, Mark Ordesky was promoted to the newly created post of chief operating officer and executive VP of New Line Prods.

Last week, with the blessing of New Line prexy Toby Emmerich, Ordesky instituted a major retooling of New Line’s development infrastructure.

Until now, all New Line execs had a mandate to operate as if each was an independent producer. The new plan teams two or three execs on each project.

While VPs and above still will enjoy some autonomy, along with the possibility of earning exec producing credits, the system is designed to create greater accountability and apprenticeship within the department.

With New Line’s “Lord of the Rings” era coming to an end this year, the company is aggressively seeking projects to fill out its currently thin slate for 2004 and 2005.

Harris is the most senior New Line exec based in Gotham. The studio has two VPs in its New York office, Mark Kaufman and Renee Witt.

Harris nearly left the company two years ago, when she was earmarked as one of the 120 or so employees to be laid off in cutbacks stemming from the merger of AOL Time Warner.

Five weeks later, however, New Line rehired Harris and she signed a three-year contract that included a raise and permission to move from Los Angeles to New York.

Harris is a producer on New Line’s upcoming “Highwaymen.” She was an exec producer on “Simone,” Universal’s “About A Boy” (which she initially developed at New Line), “Blade” and “Blade II” and “Life as a House.”

She also was a co-executive producer on “Boogie Nights” and “Seven.”

Before joining New Line as VP production in 1993, Harris was a VP at Lynda Obst Prods.

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