In a case of Hollywood power coming full circle, Mel Harris is back as co-prexy and chief operating officer at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
The unexpected move seriously calls into question the future of ColTriStar TV Group prexy Jon Feltheimer, whose contract is up early next year and is currently being negotiated.
Harris ankled Sony in 1995 after his contract negotiations were brought to a standstill — in part the result of a clash with Dennis Miller, then Sony exec VP and close Feltheimer friend.
Miller immediately replaced Harris with Feltheimer.
Now, in an almost poetic circumference the newly announced arrangement finds Feltheimer trying to renew his contract — this time with Harris holding the keys to the kingdom.
Harris is set to rejoin Sony on Sept. 15, sharing his role with Bob Wynne and the newly promoted Masayuki (Yuki) Nozoe. Nozoe will serve as co-prexy for digital entertainment, and all three execs will report to SPE chairman and CEO John Calley.
Industry insiders predict a rapid departure for Feltheimer, or at the very least, some tense talks between Feltheimer and Harris in the weeks to come.
Insiders at Sony said the two may still be able to sit down and work things out since Harris had, in years prior to the contract spat, enjoyed a good relationship with Feltheimer. Harris had several times promoted Feltheimer through the Columbia and TriStar TV ranks.
“Together with Bob and Yuki, (Harris) will be a catalyst for new initiatives both inside and outside the traditional entertainment community,” said Calley, adding that Harris will be “a strong partner in our relationship with our sister Sony companies and with talent and entertainment industry colleagues worldwide.”
Feltheimer declined to comment, and Harris was traveling and unavailable for comment.
Since his departure in 1995, Harris had been operating his own independent TV consultancy.
(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)