Par beams up Trekkie titan

Producer targets new galaxies

“Star Trek” supremo Rick Berman has reupped with Paramount’s TV and motion picture divisions, inking a five-year, eight-figure overall deal that will keep him at the studio through the end of 2006.

Exclusive pact calls for Berman to create, develop and produce features for Par’s film units as well as telepics and series programming for the studio’s TV units. He’ll also remain as scribe/exec producer on the latest “Star Trek” skein, UPN’s top-rated “Enterprise,” while continuing as a consultant on projects for Par’s theme parks unit.

While Berman intends to continue to focus on “Enterprise” and the upcoming Par pic “Star Trek: Nemesis” for at least the next year, he’s expected to begin developing non-“Trek” properties at some point during the term of the new deal.

Par TV production prexy Garry Hart said he was glad Berman would remain “a part of the Paramount family.”

Major talent

“Rick Berman’s guidance of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise and its phenomenal success are testament to his immense talent and dedication,” Hart said. “He is truly a gifted producer.”

Par Motion Picture Group chairman Sherry Lansing said Berman had been “an enormous contributor to the success” of her unit.

“He is a wonderful producer, and I look forward to collaborating with him for many years to come,” she said.

Berman noted that between launching “Enterprise” and filming “Nemesis,” he’s had “more fun writing and producing this season” than any year since he began working on the “Star Trek” franchise in 1987. Nonetheless, Berman is prepping to move himself and his Rick Berman Prods. banner beyond deep space.

“There’s nothing that dictates you giving your all (more) than the first season of a new TV series,” Berman told Daily Variety. “And I’m going to be very committed to ‘Enterprise’; it needs a lot of nurturing for at least a couple more years.

“(But) during the course of this next five-year deal, I’m going to force myself to find the time to start branching out,” he added. “I want to work on the kind of projects where people drive cars and wear sneakers –something a little more earthbound.”

Total Trek

Since coming into the “Trek” universe as co-creator (with Gene Roddenberry) of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” Berman has been responsible for more than 600 hours of “Trek”-related programming.

In addition to “TNG” followups “Deep Space Nine,” “Voyager” and “Enterprise,” Berman produced and had co-story credit on “Trek” features “Generations,” “First Contact,” “Insurrection” and the upcoming “Nemesis.”

Before “Trek,” Berman was a series exec at Par (overseeing skeins such as “Cheers” and “Family Ties”) and a director of drama development at Warner Bros. TV.

Berman’s repped by Skip Brittenham and Steve Burkow.

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