Exec set to replace Johnson as web's drama topper

Fox has tapped Spelling Television vet Ted Gold to head its drama development team, naming him senior VP of the department.

Gold replaces Peter Johnson, who has ankled the web and is in talks with McG and Stephanie Savage’s Wonderland production company. Changes were confirmed Monday by Fox exec VP of programming Craig Erwich, to whom Gold will report.

Erwich said Gold’s five-year run with Aaron Spelling, most recently as head of drama for Spelling’s Paramount-based company, played a major role in the decision to hire him. “Ted really learned a lot from Aaron, as have I, and that was very important,” Erwich said. “He’s really hustled over there, and we wanted to bring someone into the buyer’s seat who could act like a seller.

“This business is no longer just about sitting around waiting for people to bring you things,” Erwich added. “You’ve got to go out there and get it. We’re looking for Ted to continue to be a seller.”

Gold — who rented a poolside cabana at the Avalon Hotel on Sunday for a 3½ hour brainstorming session with his new staff — said he hopes to “take a mutual fund approach” to development at Fox.

“We’re going to develop a wide array of programming,” he said. “We’re looking to do bold and adventurous shows, and if it’s not that, we want to at least be distinctive.”

In addition, Gold said he wants his department to “be a little more active in packaging” projects, drawing on some of the sales skills Gold honed in his last gig, where he worked with both Spelling prexy Jonathan Levin and Spelling production partner E. Duke Vincent.

Gold’s most recent successes at Spelling include helping to develop the WB’s warm-weather hit “Summerland,” picked up for a midseason run. Exec also worked on Mel Gibson’s “Clubhouse,” an Icon/Spelling hour that’s generated good buzz ahead of the show’s debut this fall on the Eye.

Under Gold’s watch, Spelling also produced the limited-run NBC crime drama “Kingpin.”

Before Spelling, Gold worked at Alliance Atlantis, New World and CBS Entertainment. He started his showbiz career in 1991 as an assistant at Stephen J. Cannell Prods.

With Gold running drama development, Fox’s development team can now be dubbed Gold-plated — sort of. Jeremy Gold has run comedy development at Fox for just over a year.

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