Peter Chernin Signs Overall TV Deal with NBCUniversal

Chernin Entertainment chairman Peter Chernin is moving his company’s TV division from 20th Century Fox TV to NBCUniversal under a new two-year overall deal with NBC Entertainment and Universal Television.

Chernin’s TV division, which produces the Fox comedy “New Girl,” can now find alignment with Universal Television’s roster of writers and producers while having the option of producing independently for cable and other streaming platforms.

The deal also includes the promotion of Jenno Topping to Chernin’s president of film and television. She will now oversee television as well as film for the company. A head of television development and production will be named shortly, as the pact follows former TV head Katherine Pope’s departure from Chernin.

Yesterday, Variety learned Pope would be heading over to Jeff Robinov’s Studio 8 to launch a television division for the studio.

Peter Chernin is, without a doubt, one of the most forward-thinking and successful producers and executives in the media business today,” said NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. “He’s an innovator and strategist, but at the same time he loves entertaining broad audiences on a big scale with great storytelling.”

Chernin commented, “This one-of-a-kind deal provides us with the ability to develop great programming while maintaining the autonomy and flexibility we need to continue to be successful in this new era of television.”

While based at 20th, Chernin Entertainment launched three shows, all at Fox — Kiefer Sutherland’s “Touch” from Tim Kring; sitcom “Ben & Kate,” which starred Dakota Johnson long before she headed to “Fifty Shades”; and “New Girl,” which is going into its fifth season. This past pilot cycle, Fox ordered a cast-contingent “Luther” project from the company, but the pilot was never made, because of difficulties finding the title character for the American version of the BBC series, sources say.

Chernin Entertainment’s film division is behind the recent “Planet of the Apes” franchise, Melissa McCarthy’s “Spy,” plus the Golden Globe-nominated “St. Vincent.” Upcoming 2016 releases include “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” Zac Efron’s “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” and “The Mountain Between Us” adaptation with “Gone Girl’s” Rosamund Pike opposite Charlie Hunnam.

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