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Universal Signs Production Deals With Scholastic, Deborah Forte (EXCLUSIVE)

Universal Pictures is teaming with Scholastic on a three-year, first-look production agreement to produce live-action properties based on children’s literature.

The deal also brings Deborah Forte, the departing president of Scholastic Media, into the studio orbit. Forte is stepping down at the company in order to head up Silvertongue Films, a new venture under which she will work on a slate of Scholastic properties, as well as other types of projects. Silvertongue will open offices in Los Angeles and New York.

Universal already has several Scholastic properties in development, including “Clifford, The Big Red Dog” and “The 39 Clues,” with Forte serving as producer on both. Universal and Scholastic may also collaborate with outside producers on some properties.

“This alliance represents a significant opportunity to add value to Scholastic’s and Universal’s portfolios while I get to do what I love most with properties I have helped to build over the years,” said Forte in a statement. “I am most fortunate to be able to work even more closely with the Universal team which consistently demonstrates great taste, brilliant marketing, and a respect for filmmakers and outstanding content.”

Scholastic was the U.S. publisher on the “Harry Potter” and “Hunger Games” books, as well as the Magic School Bus and Babysitters Club books. Future Scholastic film projects include “Goosebumps,” which will be released on October 16, 2015, by Columbia Pictures.

Forte formed Scholastic Media in 1997. Prior to joining publisher Scholastic in 1984, she worked at Viking Press. Productions she has overseen have won an Oscar, Emmys and Webby awards.

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