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Remember all that early speculation that New Line production boss Toby Emmerich's head wound bounce out the office door after the Great Warner Bros. Leash Yank of 2008, right behind those of co-founders Bob Shaye and Michael Lynne? Signs began pointing elsewhere not too long ago, and Claudia Eller confirms today that Emmerich is in fact staying on as New Line president and COO:

Emmerich, 45, will report directly to Horn, who will have final authority on the six or so movies New Line will produce annually. However, Emmerich will have at his discretion a fund of about $25 million to buy scripts, option books and hire writers. He will also work closely with Warner's motion picture group President Jeff Robinov. ...

"The assimilation of New Line under Warner's umbrella isn't happening in a cliff-like way," Horn said. "There will be a period of transition." Nonetheless, Horn noted, "it's fair to say the reduction will number in the hundreds."

Those hundreds will likely include marketing head Rolf Mittweg and distribution chief David Tuckerman, while Emmerich will oversee a streamlined crew left behind to steer '08 "highlights" including Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay and Sex and the City: The Movie (the latter of which, of course, has its early red-band campaign well underway).

What little dust remains to settle — besides the over/under on the duration of the messy Hobbit lawsuit — involves New Line's boutique shingle Picturehouse and Warner's own art-house subsidiary, the flailing Warner Independent Pictures. The smart money these days has WIP folding into Picturehouse, with president Bob Berney sticking primarily to acquisitions and WIP boss Polly Cohen designated for assignment. We see the rationale here, but we'd also like to hear any tips if you know otherwise.