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Peter Brennan, the exec producer of Paramount’s tabloid strip “Hard Copy,” reportedly is having difficulty reaching an agreement to remain with the show after his three-year deal expires on July 23.

Sources say Brennan may wind up developing reality fare at Fox Circle Prods., an incipient unit headed by David Evans that is charged with developing programs for the Fox weblet, Fox’s new basic cable network and syndication.

It’s believed that Brennan, a co-creator of Twentieth TV’s “A Current Affair” and a former exec producer of the show, could be involved in reviving it if he returns to Fox.

But sources say Ian Rae, who co-created the program and serves as its executive producer, would remain in the role he took on for the third time earlier this year.

Should Brennan and Fox be unable to come to terms, insiders say he could once again become an independent producer and go into business with Par or other entities after exiting “Hard Copy.”

Officials at Par did not return phone calls Tuesday and Twentieth TV exex declined to comment.

Par is believed to be looking at candidates to take the helm of the show, which goes on hiatus for five weeks at the beginning of July.

A Par source said the syndicator wants to keep “Copy””pretty much as it is,” while Brennan is seeking to move the syndie tabloid genre into a new direction.

Brennan declined to comment on the contract matters or his future plans, but said, “It’s no longer good enough to do the reality magazines of six or seven years ago. My objective is to elevate these shows to a much more solid and deeper level than they are now at.”

To get to the next generation of newsmagazines, which Brennan said would involve telling stories with “class and taste,” he insists it will take a larger investment to boost production, writing and reporting.

“We need to search for a moral if there is one,” he said. “(ABC’s) ’20/20′ does it well and so does (CBS’) ’60 Minutes’ when they do those kind of stories.”

Between stints with Fox and “Hard Copy,” Brennan operated his own company, which did “American Story” for CBS as a special. The company currently is developing an alternative daytime reality show for network or syndication.