UPDATES Fox Executive In Talks With Universal

Exactly what Debbie Liebling did, or didn’t do, on her resume has become the latest parlor game in Hollywood. But why in the world is Vince Vaughn being quoted in a Universal press release? (Unless having a vanity deal there suddenly includes allowing self-involved actors to pretend to be studio execs.)

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, December 10, 2009 — Universal Pictures Co-Chairman Donna Langley today announced that Debbie Liebling has been hired as President of Production for Universal. Liebling, who currently serves as Executive Vice President of Production at 20th Century Fox, will report to Langley. She succeeds Langley, who was named co-chairman of the studio in October along with Adam Fogelson, who became Chairman, and Rick Finkelstein, who was named Vice-Chairman.

“Debbie’s fresh perspective and years of experience in the industry perfectly complement our seasoned production team,” said Langley. “Her keen instincts and close relationships with filmmakers and talent make her the right person to help us shape future Universal film slates.”

“Debbie’s got great sense and taste in comedy,” added Vince Vaughn, whose Wild West Picture Show Productions has a production deal with Universal. “I worked with Debbie on Dodgeball and was impressed with her creativity and professionalism. She will be a great leader for the Universal production crew.”

Having shepherded the creative direction of such blockbuster films as Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan and Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story through Fox during her tenure as EVP of Production and President of Production at Fox Atomic, Liebling’s talent for developing comedy became clear during her time as chief programming executive for Comedy Central. While there, she developed and supervised the juggernaut series South Park.

“This is both an exciting and challenging time in Universal’s storied film history, and I’m looking forward to working with Donna and her team to shape the next chapter,” said Liebling. “I’m deeply grateful to Tom Rothman and Jim Gianopulos for their mentorship during my time at Fox, which has prepared me so well for this new position.”

Prior to joining Comedy Central, Liebling served as West Coast executive-in-charge of production for Nickelodeon. In 1994, she supervised West Coast production and development at FX. Liebling’s other producing credits include several comedy series for NBC and HBO, ABC and VH-1. Additionally, she was a senior staff producer at MTV, where she produced a wide range of entertainment programming including comedy series, live events and music specials.

Liebling will begin her new position at Universal Pictures in January.