Apatow signs Weinstock, 20th TV pact

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Judd Apatow has tapped 20th Century Fox Television comedy exec Nicholas Weinstock as head of development at his Apatow Prods.

As part of the deal, Apatow Prods. has inked a first-look deal with 20th TV, marking Apatow's return to his TV roots.

The hire of a formal head of development, a newly created position, underscores the growth of Apatow's mini-empire over the past couple of years on the strength of a string of hit movies, including "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," "Knocked Up" and "Superbad." In this role, Weinstock will oversee script acquisition and development, feature production and all other creative operations of the company.

"Nicky is a rarity in this business; he is a comedy development executive that writers love," Apatow said. "Being a writer-driven company, we are lucky to have him join our team,"

Weinstock, considered a rising star at News Corp., most recently worked as vp comedy development at 20th TV for the past three years where he developed such series as Fox's "Back to You" and ABC's upcoming "Miss/Guided," as well as pilots with such creators as Pam Brady, Greg Garcia, Jonathan Groff, Victor Fresco and the Lonely Island troupe.

"At a time of such daunting transition in the film and television businesses, it's an enormous privilege to join an operation that's thriving on the sheer courage of its comedy," Weinstock said. "20th Century Fox has been an elite training ground and the home of many friendships for me over the past four years, and I'm grateful to (chairmen) Dana Walden, Gary Newman and many others there for their expertise and their generosity."

Weinstock previously served as vp corporate communications for News Corp., overseeing written communications and serving as chief speechwriter for chairman Rupert Murdoch and president and COO Peter Chernin.

Weinstock also is the author of three books, most recently the novel "The Golden Hour."

Before hitting it big on the big screen, Apatow worked extensively in television where he was behind the critically acclaimed but short-lived series "Freaks and Geeks" for NBC and "Undeclared" for Fox.

20th TV declined comment on the deal with Apatow Prods. Monday.
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