Pope, Chernin may team

NBC vet in talks for Fox lot shingle

When former Universal Media Studios prexy Katherine Pope signed on to serve as a consulting producer on the Fox drama “Lie to Me” last month, there was instantly chatter that the gig was in part a placeholder until News Corp. prexy Peter Chernin could find the right exec slot for the well-regarded Peacock vet.

Turns out that was true, only the exec slot Chernin has in mind is not a job at Fox per se but with his new shingle. Pope is seen as the front-runner to head the production company that Chernin will establish on the Fox lot per the terms of his exit agreement with News Corp. (Daily Variety, Feb. 24).

At the moment, Chernin is said to be busy finalizing the nitty-gritty details of his six-year film and TV production deal, the broad parameters of which were set 10 years ago as part of an employment contract negotiation. The deal calls for Fox to greenlight two features a year from Chernin’s shingle, plus a first-look deal for TV and the guarantee that his deal terms on will be at least as rich as the studio pays to any other producer on the lot.

Pope declined comment on the matter Tuesday. Those in the know cautioned that no formal offer has been made to Pope, given that Chernin is preoccupied in managing the exec transition in his wake on the Fox lot and wrapping up the loose ends on the production pact.

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