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Debbie Liebling Pushed Out at Universal After Fast Five Opens at $86 Million

by Melissa Silverstein
May 5, 2011 3:40 AM
1 Comment
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Timing is everything. This Monday, Universal's President of Production, Debbie Liebling, lost her job the day after Universal's Fast Five had the biggest opening of the year. She was on the job for just 18 months. She was fired by chairman Adam Fogelson and co-chairman Donna Langley who are reorganizing. She was replaced by two guys -- Peter Cramer and Jeffrey Kirschenbaum.

Here's what an agent said to the Hollywood Reporter about the firing: She was:


"the fall guy" for the studio's troubles. "How long has their bad run been going on?" this person said. "It long preceded Debbie Liebling. She's No. 4 in the chain of command. She had no power there. She had no job. She takes the fall."

I wonder if the two guys who are now taking a job that one woman did will be in the same position of having no power, no authority and "no job."

Here's what her no job was on the NBC/Universal website: "Liebling oversees all creative development and feature film production for Universal Pictures." It's interesting to note that there are two other top female executives at this studio. The already mentioned Donna Langley, the co-chair, and Nikki Rocco, President of Distribution.

Why Top Exec Debbie Liebling Was Pushed Out at Universal (Analysis) (Hollywood Reporter)

Universal production shake-up: Debbie Liebling out; Peter Cramer, Jeffrey Kirschenbaum promoted (LA Times)

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1 Comment

  • Steve Leach | May 5, 2011 10:36 AMReply

    Seems like a very odd move considering HOP, Five etc.

    One thing I will always know about Studios, they are strange organizations.

    Debbie Liebling is one of the best and most liked people in the business. This is not my real name but I have worked with her twice at Fox and there is no other exec I would rather but my trust in.

    Another odd move by people that don't know how to handle their assets. Well, as usual she will end up somewhere, and this time she will get the respect she not only deserves but should command. Simply amazing Universal.

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