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Fox taps Michael Thorn as drama chief

Former NBC exec replaces veteran Patrick Moran

As pilot season winds down, 20th Century Fox is making a dramatic move of its own, tapping NBC alum Michael Thorn to serve as its new drama development chief, replacing longtime 20th exec Patrick Moran — who is ankling his post.

Thorn will serve as senior VP of drama development and report to 20th exec VP Jennifer Nicholson Salke, who oversees the studio’s overall drama and comedy output.

“It all happened very quickly,” Thorn said. “It was the right opportunity at the right time.”

Thorn most recently served as president of Marty Adelstein’s Lost Marbles Television, overseeing the 20th-based shingle’s scripted development.

That means Thorn has served as an exec producer on MTV’s upcoming “Teen Wolf.” (Although “Teen Wolf” hasn’t officially been picked up yet, the show has been given the greenlight to begin staffing — and could be ready for a January launch on the cabler.)

“Marty has been a great friend and mentor, but this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Thorn said. “Twentieth has a legacy of developing and producing some of the most creative drama series in TV. To get to be a part of that, and make my own mark, and be able to sell to Fox and the other networks, it was something I couldn’t say no to.”

Before Adelstein’s company, Thorn handled drama development at the Peacock, working on projects such as “Friday Night Lights” and “Heroes.” He was also a primetime series exec at NBC Studios, working on shows such as “Crossing Jordan” and “Boomtown.”

Thorn will officially join 20th in June; drama development VPs Lisa Katz and Jonathan Wax will report to him.

“Michael has fantastic instincts and great taste in material, and will be a tremendous asset our company,” said Nicholson Salke, who also thanked Adelstein for giving his blessing to the executive transfer. There’s no word yet on who will replace Thorn at Lost Marbles.

Change comes even as Moran is coming off a strong development season, having overseen hot pilots “Ridealong,” “Breakout Kings,” “Lone Star” and “Chaos.” Twentieth scored six drama pilots this year.

“I’ve been at the studio for many years now, and I’ve loved my time here, but I wanted to try something a bit more entrepreneurial,” Moran said.

Moran, whose contract was up, also helped develop 20th mainstays such as “Glee,” “Bones” and “Prison Break.” Exec will help with the transition as a consultant.

“Patrick is a gifted executive who is extraordinarily well-liked both within the company and out in the community, and we will miss him,” 20th Century Fox TV chairs Dana Walden and Gary Newman said jointly in a statement.

Moran had been at 20th since 2003, working his way up the drama ranks.

Thorn, meanwhile, also served as vice president, series development and programming at USA Network, where he helped develop the net’s flagship series “Monk.”

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