EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Terry Semel wants back in the movie biz in a big way. His pals know he’s been working on something big behind the scenes. “I’m looking at everything,” Semel is saying privately. But now I can report that the former Warner Bros co-chairman who failed at Yahoo! is actively considering two possibilities for a Hollywood re-entry via New Line Cinema or MGM. I’ve heard that Semel is seriously kicking the tires at New Line and has already had a confab with Time Warner about it. (One source told me Semel may partner with Arnon Milchan on it.) Meanwhile, New Line’s co-founders and current toppers Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne had that meeting on Wednesday with Jeff Bewkes I reported about last week. (See my previous, SOURCES: Bob Shaye’s New Line Contract Won’t Be Renewed By Time Warner Boss.) Hollywood is eagerly anticipating the announcement that the embattled pair’s been pink-slipped since Bewkes has wisely decided not to renew their contracts expiring this year. As for MGM, you may remember that Semel was seriously thinking of heading that beleaguered studio back in 1995 when Ron Perelman was thinking of making a run at it. Look, Semel already has lots of money, so this isn’t about that. (Not only was his Warner Bros executive compensation package so full of generous stock options that he was raking in a lot more than Jerry Levin, the head of parent company Time Warner at the time. But also Semel’s Yahoo! shares and option gains made his six years at the helm worth $528 million. See my previous: Terry Semel Hoisted On His Petard.) His friends just think Semel now wants to show that there are second acts for Hollywood moguls. Meanwhile, I’d be surprised if Bewkes jettisons New Line since there are some profitable upcoming projects, especially The Hobbit 1 and The Hobbit 2 produced by Lord Of the Rings-meister Peter Jackson. On the other hand, if Time Warner can get as much as $2 billion for the studio, well, anything’s possible.
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