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Fox thriller is ‘Murder’ for Hefner

Playmates enlisted to help solve a crime at the mansion

Newly promoted Fox TV Studios movies/minis VP Eric Poticha has brought in Hugh Hefner to develop the telepic “Murder at the Playboy Mansion.”

Poticha set up the comedy/thriller at USA Network, where the script is undergoing a second draft. Hefner came up with the concept, which revolves around a murder that takes place at one of his parties. Telepic turns farcical when the Playboy Playmates are enlisted to help solve the crime.

Dan Petrie Jr. wrote the script and will direct, while Hefner and Alta Loma Entertainment’s Dick Rosenzweig will exec produce. Hefner and Alta Loma have recently increased their TV development, having pacted with comicbook legend Stan Lee to create a cartoon about superhero Playmates (Daily Variety, July 18).

Poticha, who first joined Fox TV Studios in 2000, helped generate the idea behind FX’s top-rated TV movie “44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shootout.”

He’ll continue to handle development and production on movies and miniseries for broadcast and cable outlets, alongside fellow vice president Lisa Demberg.

Poticha reports to Fox TV Studios movies/minis exec VP David Madden.

“Eric’s a sparkplug,” Madden said. “He’s great at coming up with ideas, figuring out who the right writers or actors are for those ideas, and then nurturing them into movies that we can actually sell. He’s also tireless in cultivating relationships with producers and filmmakers to try to bring projects into our unit.”

Besides “44 Minutes,” Poticha also supervised projects such as NBC’s “L.A. Law: The Movie,” Fox’s “Baywatch Hawaiian Wedding” and Discovery Channel’s “12 Days of Terror.”

He put together the FX sci-fi entry “Eater,” produced by Jan de Bont and based on Gregory Benford’s novel.

Poticha has produced a number of movies, including “Tempting Fate,” and served as director of development at Singer-White Entertainment and SpyGaze Entertainment.

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