Bob Osher has been named chief operating officer of the Columbia Pictures Motion Picture Group.
Osher, who has been co-prexy of production for Miramax Films for the last six years, will report to Amy Pascal, chair of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, and work alongside Col co-prexys of production Doug Belgrad and Matt Tolmach, who will continue to supervise Col’s feature film slate. Belgrad and Tolmach also report to Pascal.
At Sony Osher will oversee the studio’s business affairs and physical production.
Osher and Pascal worked together at Turner Pictures, where Pascal was prexy and Osher was an exec VP.
“I have had the opportunity to observe Bob over the years from two distinct vantage points,” Pascal said in a statement. “We worked together at Turner Pictures, and more recently, I watched while he was driving home deals on behalf of Miramax. I decided I’d much rather work with him than negotiate against him.”
The move has been anticipated for months (Daily Variety, March 23) but was made official this week, when Osher began work at Sony’s Culver City lot.
Osher also joins Sony top brass Michael Lynton, chairman-CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, who was appointed to the post in January by Sony Corp. of America chairman Howard Stringer. Both Lynton and Pascal report to Stringer.
In effect, Osher replaces former Col prexy Peter Schlessel, who left the studio earlier this year to pursue other ventures.
But while Schlessel’s strong suit was the financial management of pictures, Osher will be more involved in production decisions, given his extensive background in film — though he will also be responsible for fiscal discipline.
Osher will also be valuable if Sony concludes a deal to acquire MGM and its film library. While at Turner, Osher was involved in managing and exploiting film catalogs for video.
As co-president of production at Miramax, Osher was co-head of the mini-major’s production department and ran the legal, business affairs and physical production divisions. In 2002 he was also placed in charge of Miramax Television and was made co-head of the company’s DVD, homevideo and domestic television sales divisions.
Most recently he oversaw the production of “Shall We Dance,” starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez, and “Underclassmen,” with Nick Cannon; he also served as exec producer of Anthony Minghella’s “Cold Mountain.”
Osher was co-founder and exec VP of the Turner Pictures Group, responsible for overseeing and managing all business activities and financial operations for Turner Pictures, TNT, Original Films (including creative oversight) and the Turner Entertainment Co.
After practicing transactional entertainment law at several Los Angeles firms, he joined the Walt Disney Studios in 1989 and rose to senior VP in charge of business and legal affairs for Walt Disney and Touchstone Pictures prior to his departure in 1995.