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Vogel exit in works at Disney

Touchstone may move from House

Walt Disney Studios execs are quietly negotiating an exit plan for Buena Vista Motion Picture Group prexy David Vogel, high-ranking sources Tuesday.

It was unclear whether Vogel will depart the Mouse house or segue into a production deal. Sources indicated, however, that any departure package or deal would be lucrative for the exec.

Conflicts of both policy and style between Vogel and Disney prexy Peter Schneider have become increasingly apparent in recent weeks, insiders pointed out, making a management change inevitable. Vogel oversees Touchstone and Hollywood product, while Schneider has oversight of Disney live-action and animation films, the latter of which Schneider has handled since 1985.

One insider said that Vogel could potentially remain within the corporate structure, handling Touchstone and working behind the scenes with Schneider on live-action features from Disney, which Vogel has handled for more than a decade. But the consensus among Disney brass is that Vogel will likely be settled out of his contract, which has several years left.

Vogel and Disney brass had no comment on the report.

Insiders also noted that Touchstone and Disney labels may effectively be separated once more. In a splashy announcement last July, Vogel was put in charge of Disney, Touchstone and Hollywood labels under the banner of Buena Vista Motion Picture Group.

The move was part of a production cutback on the part of Walt Disney Studios chairman Joe Roth, who wanted to limit Disney live-action output to 15 feature pics and one or two animated films by 2000.

But those plans were displaced in January with the appointment of animation and legit theater guru Schneider as prexy of Walt Disney Studios. Schneider was brought in to oversee creative development, production, marketing and distribution of all Disney-branded entertainment. As a result, he took over the live-action Disney product.

Vogel has continued to oversee the production slate for Touchstone films over the past four months, including purview on such pics as “Gone in 60 Seconds,” starring Nicolas Cage with Jerry Bruckheimer producing; “Mission to Mars,” under Brian De Palma’s helm; the Coen Bros.’ “Oh Brother Where Art Thou,” starring George Clooney; “Shanghai Noon” with Jackie Chan; “Keeping the Faith,” starring Ed Norton, Ben Stiller and Jenna Elfman; Jon Turteltaub’s “National Treasure” and Stephen Frears’ “High Fidelity,” among others.