Exclusive: Peter Chernin Loses Top Deputy Nicky Weinstock to New Fox Studios Venture
5:00 am, April 25th | by Peter Lauria
Hollywood mogul Peter Chernin, who vacated his post as the chief lieutenant to Rupert Murdoch at News Corp. in 2009, has lost one of his top deputies to his former company. A Fox insider tells Mogulite that Nicky Weinstock, currently the head of comedy development for movies and television at Chernin Entertainment, is leaving to oversee a new division of Fox Studios. Weinstock, according to the source, was personally wooed by Fox Studio heads Tom Rothman and Emma Watts to oversee the new division, which will function as a writer’s studio, hiring roughly a dozen writers to develop scripts that the parent studio will look to greenlight.
“Basically, we need a bigger array of cooler movies and are looking to Nicky to concoct them with a team of cool emerging screenwriters,” the insider said. “There’s just so much widespread lameness and conservatism in studio movies these days and we are trying to take a more creative approach to making films.”
Weinstock’s move represents the first significant executive departure for Chernin Entertainment. Up until now, Chernin has been the one doing the poaching, stealing executives from Universal Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment and Apatow Productions, which was Weinstock’s former studio home.
The move marks a return to Fox for Weinstock. He previously served as Vice President of comedy development for the studio until 2007 when Chernin, who was then News Corp.’s president with oversight of the studio, let him out of his contract to go lead movie and television development for Judd Apatow’s company.
At Apatow, Weinstock helped produce such movies as “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” “Funny People,” and “Get Him to the Greek.” Prior to that, Weinstock, who has also written three novels, served as head of corporate communications at News Corp., functioning mainly as a speechwriter for Chernin and chairman Rupert Murdoch.
As for Chernin, the first big project from his new company — the science fiction television series “Terra Nova,” produced in conjunction with Steven Spielberg — debuts on Fox next month. His first feature film, a remake of “Planet of the Apes,” is scheduled to hit theaters in November.
Weinstock did not return multiple calls and emails for comment. Representatives for Fox could not be reached.