Fox 2000 shuts N.Y. lit office

Two years after opening for business, Fox 2000 has notified its New York scouting and development office that it will shutter the outpost in March.

According to sources, Matthew Specktor, the VP of production who ran the Gotham office, and his two-person staff were notified last week that the office was being closed. While neither Specktor nor Laura Ziskin, Fox 2000 president of production, could be reached for comment, the move is understood to come as a means of trimming costs within the Fox production division.

Established in February 1995 under the watch of the late Raymond Bongiovanni, the Fox 2000 office soon became one of the most aggressive buyers of literary material to be developed into films. During that time, the office has shepherded into the company such high-profile partial manuscripts and books as Tom Perrotta’s “Wishbones,” Laura Zigman’s “Animal Husbandry,” Mahlon Johnson’s “Working on a Miracle,” John Marr and John Baldwin’s “The Eleventh Plague,” Douglas Kennedy’s “The Big Picture,” Michelle Chalfoun’s “Roustabout” and Chuck Palahniuk’s “The Fight Club.”

However, many of these books came at a steep price, as Fox 2000 offered big money — including more than $1 million for “Working on a Miracle” — to establish itself on the Gotham literary scene. Subsequently, many of these acquisitions have stalled in development or have been put in turnaround.

Specktor was hired in February from Jersey Films to run the office, replacing Michael Kaplan, who left in January to pursue a writing career. Kaplan joined Fox 2000 in July 1996, filling the post formerly held by Bongiovanni.

It’s understood that Specktor will continue to work out his existing contract, which runs until the end of February.

Specktor and creative exec Jane Long have brought in such books as Julie Taylor’s “Franco American Dreams” and Sharon Crum’s “Burn, Baby Burn.”

Perhaps indicating a downturn in the New York book-to-film scene, Specktor’s former employer, Jersey Films, also shuttered its New York scouting/development office this year. The company now relies upon the independent scouting banner Other Prods.

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