Production topper to remain at studio as producer

Now it’s Warner Bros.’ turn for a shuffle in its executive suite.

Kevin McCormick will exit his post as production president at the end of the year and segue into a three-year producing deal, the studio said Monday. Insiders said there is no immediate plan to fill McCormick’s slot, with studio president Jeff Robinov assuming some of McCormick’s responsibilities and assigning others to inhouse execs.

Rumors have been percolating for months over McCormick’s long-term role at the studio, in part because of the overlap between his duties and Robinov’s. While there’s speculation that exec veep Greg Silverman or exec veep Lynn Harris could eventually move into the production prexy post, for now insiders said there’s no talk of grooming a successor.

McCormick, who joined Warners a decade ago, was promoted to the top production job in January 2008. He said in a statement Monday that he originally told Robinov he would work as production president for only two years.

“Jeff and I have been friends and colleagues for more than a decade and he’s been extremely supportive of my desire to return to producing,” McCormick said. “There’s nowhere else I’d rather be making movies than Warner Bros., and I look forward to getting started.”

McCormick is known for being particularly adept at developing material and dealing with writers. He’s been involved as an exec with “The Perfect Storm,” “The Last Samurai,” “Syriana,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the DreamWorks co-productions “Sweeney Todd” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and the upcoming “Sherlock Holmes.”

First titles to be produced at McCormick’s production company are “Dead Spy Running,” adapted by Stephen Gaghan; “The Lucky One,” to be directed by Doug McGrath and produced by Denise Di Novi; “Arthur,” with producers Larry Bresner and Chris Bender; and an untitled project with writer Eric Roth.

He’ll maintain an association with Warner Bros. Theater Ventures by becoming a producer on several of that unit’s projects in development and pre-production.

Move comes in the wake of regime changes this month at Disney and Universal and a major exec shuffle at Paramount earlier this year. McCormick’s resignation is the first major change at Warners — which leads the majors in domestic B.O. market share this year with 20% — since early 2008 when prexy of domestic marketing Dawn Taubin ankled after Robinov took over oversight of marketing and distribution.

McCormick served as exec VP of production at Fox 2000 from 1995-99. He began his career at the Robert Stigwood Organization, working on “Tommy,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Grease” and “Saturday Night Fever,” the last of which he exec produced. He then formed a partnership with Sally Field to develop film projects and later had a production deal at Par.

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