Berman Gives Fox Her Exit Strategy

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Outgoing Fox Entertainment president Gail Berman Wednesday confirmed Tuesday's media reports that she's taking a job with Paramount Pictures, telling staff she'll stick around for a while to help plan next season's schedule.

Berman told department heads at Fox that she'll stay with the network until "a significant portion" of the pilot season is over to help smooth the transition, according to a source familiar with her comments. News Corp. President Peter Chernin was also present at that meeting.

She's headed for Paramount Pictures, where she'll join a leadership team headed by the studio's new boss, Brad Grey. Paramount and Berman have yet to say what post she'll take, though it's widely speculated that she will be named president.

For now, Fox isn't saying anything about the search for Berman's successor. The network declined to comment on how long it may take to find a replacement for Berman or how long she might stick around. But it would be awkward for Berman to leave abruptly, given that the broadcast networks are in the midst of the annual pilot season.

Fox programming executives will be reviewing more than two dozen pilots for new comedies and dramas as they pull together next season's schedule. There's not much time for distractions because Fox is scheduled to meet advertisers at the up-fronts in New York on May 19.

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