Universal hires production president

Debbie Liebling begins her new job in Jan.

Universal has made it official: Debbie Liebling has been hired as president of production for the studio.

Liebling, who is currently executive vp of production at 20th Century Fox, will report to Donna Langley, whose shoes she steps into and were vacated in October when Langley was named co-chairman in a studio shuffle.

Her job will be to shape future Universal film slates and her hire already has one actor-producer giving a thumbs up to the move.

"Debbie's got great sense and taste in comedy," said Vince Vaughn, whose Wild West Picture Show Productions has a production deal with Universal, in a statement. "I worked with Debbie on 'Dodgeball' and was impressed with her creativity and professionalism. She will be a great leader for the Universal production crew."

Liebling comes from a comedy background, having moved to Fox from Comedy Central in 2002 and shepherded films such as "Borat" and "Dodgeball" for the studio before moving to Fox Atomic in 2007.

Liebling ran Atomic until that unit was shuttered in April 2009, overseeing the production of movies such as "28 Weeks Later" and "The Rocker."

When the unit was shut down, its remaining films such as "I Love You, Beth Cooper" and "Jennifer's Body" moved to Fox, where Liebling became executive vp production, serving under Emma Watts and Alex Young. Watts became Fox's sole production head last month, after Young resigned his post and moved into a producing deal.

Liebling begins her new job in January.