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Forte out as president of Harpo Films

Shingle will now fall under Harpo Studios banner

Kate Forte is out as president of Harpo Films.

The Los Angeles-based exec had been topper for 18 years before leaving, which is effective immediately. The move comes as Harpo Films is set to make a corporate shift and become part of Harpo Studios.

A representative from Harpo Studios confirmed Forte’s departure.

Harpo Studios is also planning to launch a new scripted division, to help increase programming that can be sold to both broadcast and cable outlets. Harpo Films has not had much output in recent years and one of the jobs of the new president will be to ramp up activity.

Harpo Films, which also creates theatrical fare, is currently in a long-term deal with HBO, and that pact will continue. On the film side, Harpo produced the 2007 Denzel Washington starrer “The Great Debaters.”

HBO was recently in development with Harpo on a project about an academic who becomes the first black president of a prestigious liberal arts school. Forte was set to exec produce with Oprah Winfrey.

Another project that Harpo was producing was a bigscreen adaptation of the bestselling novel “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle,” with Wentworth Miller attached as a writer. “Sawtelle” is in development at Universal.

ABC has often aired Harpo product, including “Mitch Albom’s For One More Day,” “Tuesdays With Morrie” and “Before Women Had Wings.”

Forte first came to Harpo in 1990. She arrived from Marian Rees Associates, where she helped developed several Hallmark Hall of Fame productions.

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