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Touchstone vet: In pod she trusts

Calfo inks 3-year, 7-figure development, prod'n deal

Touchstone Television development vet Francie Calfo is ankling her exec gig to set up a production pod at the studio.

Calfo, who had been senior VP of drama, has inked a three-year, seven-figure development and production deal at Touchstone. She’ll focus primarily on drama series, developing projects for all of the broadcast networks.

Suzanne Patmore, who shared the drama senior VP title and duties with Calfo, will oversee the division by herself.

Touchstone topper Steve McPherson said Calfo “was instrumental in shaping this studio.”

“Her talents will serve her enormously well as she transitions into a pod deal,” McPherson said. “I have no doubt she will be extraordinarily successful in her new venture.”

Calfo, who has spent her entire career at Disney-owned Touchstone, said starting a production company has “always been my ultimate goal.”

“It was such a natural transition for me,” Calfo told Daily Variety. “I feel like I’ve been drifting closer and closer to this with every development season.”

Calfo’s exec contract expired earlier this summer, but as early as January — not long after she was upped to senior VP — Calfo starting thinking about her career options as McPherson and others started talking to her about various opportunities.

While Calfo will continue to focus on dramas, she said she won’t be limited to one kind of hour. “I’m going to be doing both hard-edged 10 o’clock dramas and family shows,” she said.

Calfo has overseen both drama development and current programming for Touchstone since 1999. During her tenure, the studio developed skeins such as “Alias,” “Monk” and “CSI.”

Before running the drama division, Calfo was VP of creative affairs, overseeing production of skeins such as “Felicity,” “Sports Night” and “Home Improvement.” She began her Disney career in the research department.

“Alias” and “Felicity” exec producer J.J. Abrams — who named the character of Francie in “Alias” after Calfo — welcomed the exec’s move to the creative side.

“She’s going to make a great producer,” he said. “I hope I’m lucky enough to work with her again someday.”