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Obst moving shingle from Sony to Fox lot

Lynda Obst is moving her indie production company to 20th Century Fox, representing the first overall deal at the studio made by its new movie team of chairman Peter Chernin and production prexy Tom Jacobson.

Under a two-year, first-look arrangement, Obst will develop and produce features for Fox under her Lynda Obst Prods. flag.

Obst has had a long term deal at what is now Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she produced Terry Gilliam’s Oscar-winning “The Fisher King” with her former partner Debra Hill and the upcoming Tom Hanks-Meg Ryan romantic comedy “Sleepless in Seattle,” directed by Nora Ephron, both for the company’s TriStar Pictures banner.

The producer’s original affiliation with Fox came last year when she produced Ephron’s directorial debut “This is My Life,” which the studio released in early 1992.

Obst, who said she has a number of projects at Fox but is “not walking in with a go picture,” said yesterday: “The goal is to help Fox move projects they have into production and to develop projects from scratch on which I will bring in my best writers and directors.”

Obst added, “It’s a very exciting open playing field over there with a brand new team in place with good will and momentum and the desire is to equally develop and produce.”

Obst’s association with Sony began in 1988, when she was signed to a first-look deal by former Columbia Pictures prexy Dawn Steel. The producer then entered a new two-year deal in January 1991 made by Steel’s successor, Frank Price.

Prior to Columbia, Obst was at Disney partnered with Hill, with whom she produced “Adventures in Babysitting” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” Hill/Obst Prods. was originally based at Paramount and moved to Disney after Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg shifted studios.

Before teaming with Hill, Obst worked with Sony Pictures Entertainment chairman Peter Guber when he ran Casablanca/Polygram, becoming VP of creative affairs in 1979. Among the films she helped develop there was “Flashdance,” which Paramount released.

Three years later, Obst went to the David Geffen Co., where she worked in feature development and production.

Obst’s previous background was in journalism, having spent three years as an editor of the New York Times Magazine, and starting out as editor/author of “The Rolling Stone History of the Sixties.”

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