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Debbie Liebling confirmed as new production chief at Universal Pictures

December 10, 2009 | 12:30 pm

Universal Pictures confirmed today that it has tapped Debbie Liebling as its new president of production. Liebling succeeds Donna Langley, who was promoted to co-chairman of Universal in October alongside chairman Adam Fogelson. Liebling will begin her new gig in January after relinquishing her current job as executive vice president of production at 20th Century Fox, where she has worked since 2002.

At Fox, Liebling was best known for overseeing comedies such as "Dodgeball" and Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat," but was less successful when she moved over to the studio's genre label Fox Atomic, which was shuttered after a two-year run.

Now, Liebling and her new bosses will be under enormous pressure to prove they can turn around the box office fortunes of Universal, which is coming off one of its worst years with such costly misfires as "The Land of the Lost," "Funny People" and "State of Play."

The production team and its boss, Universal Studios President Ron Meyer, are under close scrutiny by corporate parent NBC Universal and its owner-in-the-wings Comcast Corp. to see how the studio will perform in the coming year.

--Claudia Eller