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Veteran studio production chief Michael De Luca has turned down an offer to join Paramount Pictures, according to insiders.
The proposed plan was for De Luca to run the film division and work under Fox film chief Jim Gianopulos, who is Viacom’s pick to run the troubled studio should he accept the assignment.
De Luca is said to enjoy the autonomy he maintains as an independent producer. He also may have blanched at taking the No. 2 job at Paramount after being in the running himself to serve as chairman-CEO.
Sources say Gianopulos is still in the running to take the job, replacing Brad Grey.
While Viacom brass ultimately decided that Gianopulos was the company’s first pick to serve as chairman-CEO, Viacom CEO Bob Bakish was enamored with De Luca and pursued hiring both men. De Luca likely would have been bestowed with the title of co-chairman. (Insiders say Bakish and De Luca dined together late last week.)
De Luca — who co-produced the recent Oscar show — began his career at New Line Cinema before running production at DreamWorks. He then spent nearly a decade as a producer based on the Sony lot, where he made the Oscar-nominated The Social Network, Moneyball and Captain Phillips. Next, he became production president at Sony Pictures but departed during the leadership upheaval following the hack.
De Luca has since been a producer based at Universal, home of the Fifty Shades film series. Those close to him said his decision to turn down the Paramount job wasn’t influenced by the fact that he commutes between Los Angeles and Fort Worth, Texas, where his family moved a year ago and where his wife is from.
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