Eick takes Perth berth at USA

'Hercules' producer in no. 2 slot for topper Chao

David Eick, the 29-year-old producer of “Hercules: The Legendary Journeys,” has been tapped as Stephen Chao’s No. 2 programming executive at USA Networks, replacing Rod Perth.

A spokeswoman for USA Networks declined to comment, and Eick was unavailable. But sources said his work throughout the last six and a half years helping Sam Raimi’s and Robert Tapert’s Renaissance Pictures find success in TV production attracted the eye of Chao, president of production and marketing for USA Networks, and Chao’s boss, Barry Diller.

Eick’s first project at Renaissance Pictures was a series of five two-hour “Hercules” TV movies that became so successful in firstrun syndication they spun off the series. He also worked on the development of “Xena: Warrior Princess,” the series that was incubated on “Hercules.”

The two series are continuing in production, and reruns of both kick off a five-a-week, early-evening schedule on USA later this summer.

Other Renaissance projects Eick produced include two sequels to the “Darkman” theatrical, both of which went directly to video, and the CBS primetime series “American Gothic.”

Before he joined Renaissance early in 1992, Eick was exec assistant to Richard Lindheim, who at the time was executive VP of creative affairs for Universal Television.

Perth will resign as exec VP of programming for USA on July 10, a move that was expected after Diller took control of USA Networks late last year.