Faillace new prod'n exec at CBS Films

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UPDATED 11 a.m. PT Dec. 12

NEW YORK -- CBS Films on Tuesday took the next step in its development as a film banner, bringing aboard Fox 2000 veteran Maria Faillace as senior vp production.

Based in Los Angeles, Faillace will supervise the development and production of films and identify new material for the company.

Faillace has worked on several films at the Fox label, including Curtis Hanson's "In Her Shoes" and the Farrelly brothers' "Fever Pitch."

CBS Films president Amy Baer, to whom Faillace reports, said that the production unit's goal will be to make movies across all genres that have broad commercial appeal; she said that CBS Films will consider projects in a range of categories, from comedies to drama to action pics. "We're not looking to launch a specialty division or a genre division," she said.

CBS Corp. president and CEO Leslie Moonves created CBS Films this year with the goal of releasing four to six movies a year in the sub-$50 million range. The unit recently optioned the high school fable "Beastly" and plans on releasing its first film as early as winter 2009.

Baer, a former Sony and Columbia executive who joined CBS Films in September, said the company is eyeballing projects that could go into production ahead of a potential actors strike but that it felt no pressure to do so. "If we're lucky enough to have something fall into our laps that qualitatively we feel great about, then we'll do it," she said. "But we want to do it right and we don't want to do it too fast."

Baer noted that CBS Films did not have outside investors or a mandate to fill a distribution hole that might prompt the division to act hastily.

The company eventually plans to seek out acquisitions of finished films, though it will concentrate on original productions for the time being.

On the personnel side, Baer said that an additional production executive would likely be hired in the coming months, and that the nascent unit would look to build out its marketing and distribution team in early 2008.
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