Twentieth Century Fox today announced the creation of an in-house program dedicated to the development of emerging writers, new voices, and varied motion picture concepts. It will report to President of Production Emma Watts. “This initiative will be dedicated to the creation of original ideas (not rewrites of existing scripts or the development of library titles) from emerging writers,’ Fox said, noting that the program will hire the writers, coordinate relationships with producers, and supervise the development process of ideas generated. Fve writers in comedy and action/adventure will be hired initially. “We have great hopes for this program,” Watts said in a statement. “The goal for this enterprise is to create a place where original ideas are generated and where new writers can feel supported to do their best work.” The initiative will be overseen by both Steve Tzirlin, former VP of development at Lucasfilm Ltd, who will spearhead action/adventure development, and Nicky Weinstock, formerly EVP of comedy development for the movie side of Chernin Entertainment, who will focus on laugher development.
Tzerlin was with Lucasfilm for the last five years, working directly with George Lucas and Rick McCallum on live-action television, film, video game, and animation projects. At Lucasfilm, Tzirlin focused on sourcing emerging writing and directing talent from around the world and as an entrepreneurial producer worked on projects in the works across various media.
But what I don’t understand is why the studio hired Weinstock. Anyone who knows Nicky knows he’s all talk and little action. And that he’s only in business for himself. He’s the kind of Hollywood annoyance who constantly is looking for the bigger and better so he can keep clawing his way up the Hollywood ladder by claiming credit for product that a lot of other people were also responsible for. So it comes as no surprise to me that only 19 months after he left Judd Apatow’s company to go to work for film president Dylan Clark at Chernin Entertainment, Weinstock is already moving on. Weinstock was Chernin’s speechwriter as VP of News Corp’s corporate written communications in NYC, and then was asked by Chernin to become VP of comedy development at 20th Century Fox Television. At the end of 2007, Weinstock left to run Apatow Productions with Judd. At Chernin Entertainment, Nicky was hired initially to head comedy development for movies and TV, but the small-screen component of his job lasted for a nanosecond. The only films he ever put into development there were Hawkwood, with Russell Brand attached to star and Jared Stern writing, Rehab with director Will Gluck attached and Sam Laybourne writing, and We’ve Got Your Girlfriend with Jason Mantzoukas writing.
Of course, Weinstock leaked the news early of his hiring by claiming he alone was in charge of the new Fox Studios writers program. As if that weren’t exaggeration enough, he also claimed he was personally wooed by Fox mogul Tom Rothman. Nope.