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20th takes dramatic turn with proven hand

Salke upped to exec veep dramatic development

Jennifer Nicholson Salke, the development exec behind such 2005-06 success stories as “Prison Break” and “The Unit,” has inked a new long-term deal with 20th Century Fox TV.

As part of the pact, Nicholson Salke has been upped to exec VP of drama development. That makes her the highest-ranking creative exec at the studio other than 20th presidents Gary Newman and Dana Walden, to whom she will continue to report.

Promotion comes four years after Nicholson Salke joined 20th from Columbia TriStar Television (now Sony Pictures TV). It also comes soon after 20th’s drama division landed early pickups for new hours “Primary” and “Vanished,” both housed at 20th sister net Fox Broadcasting.

“She has a spectacular eye for the next big idea or undiscovered writer, and she brings a passion and intelligence to her projects that inspire our producers and staff to do their best work,” Newman said.

Nicholson Salke, whose most recent deal was set to expire in July, said Newman and Walden came to her about four months ago to discuss reupping. She said the studio’s support for passion projects cinched her decision to stay.

“We’re not in the volume business,” she said. “We really get behind ideas and nurture them.”

In addition to the projects already greenlit by Fox, Nicholson Salke has had a hand in developing a number of hot pilots around town, including “Shark” for CBS and “Drive” for Fox. She also developed this season’s drama success “Bones.”

During her run as senior VP of drama at Columbia TriStar, Nicholson Salke helped develop “Everwood,” among other projects.

Before Col TriStar, she spent several years at Spelling Television, rising to senior VP. She sold more than four dozen pilot scripts during her Spelling tenure, including “7th Heaven” and “Charmed.”

Nicholson Salke’s promotion comes as her husband, producer Bert Salke, awaits word on the fate of the three projects he has in the works this year.

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