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Producer teams to take stab at TV ‘Pirates’

Batfilm Prods. partners Benjamin Melniker and Michael Uslan are teaming with producers Mace Neufeld and Robert Rehme on a proposed live-action television series based on the classic comic strip “Terry and the Pirates.”

Making a pitch

The companies acquired the rights through Tribune Media Services and plan to pitch the show to broadcast and cable networks.

The action-adventure concept, based on the Milton Caniff strip that ran from 1934 into the 1970s, will be contemporized for the series. Tribune may participate in distribution through its Tribune Entertainment division, although that’s yet to be determined, Melniker said.

Melniker and Uslan have been involved in adapting a number of comic book properties, most prominently exec producing “Batman” and its sequel as well as the various adaptations of “Swamp Thing,” which spawned two movies, a USA network TV series and an animated Fox Children’s Network tryout that could lead to an eventual kidvid show.

O’seas partners

“Terry and the Pirates” was adapted for TV in the 1950s on the Dupont network and in movie and radio versions during the ’40s. The project will likely seek overseas partners and shoot abroad.

Neufeld/Rehme has an exclusive feature, first-look TV deal at Paramount Pictures that’s been extended into early 1994.

No role for Par

The studio won’t be involved in the “Terry” project, however, which Rehme said he had pursued as a possible feature during executive stints both at New World Entertainment and Universal Pictures.

In addition to Paramount movies like “The Hunt for Red October” and “Patriot Games,” Neufeld/Rehme has produced the first-run action series “Lightning Force, ” distributed by Viacom.

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