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USA likes Eick for inhouse prod’n

Exec to lead development of UCE projects

NEW YORK — USA Cable Entertainment (UCE) is beefing up the development of original series and movies for its siblings the USA Network and the Sci Fi Channel by hiring programming veteran David Eick as exec VP.

In the newly created post, the Los Angeles-based Eick will keep his lines out to the creative community to try to find the next hit series like USA’s “Monk” or the next big miniseries like Sci Fi’s 20-hour “Taken” and USA’s “Helen of Troy.”

For projects developed within USA and Sci Fi, Eick will be the point person to get them produced at UCE. Eick will have minimal involvement with movies and miniseries that USA and Sci Fi commission from outside suppliers. For example, Lions Gate TV produces USA’s successful weekly series “The Dead Zone” and DreamWorks produced the Sci Fi mini “Taken.”

Sci Fi has signed Dean Devlin and Bryan Singer to develop a miniseries centering on the Bermuda Triangle. Eick’s participation will be heavy if Devlin decides to produce it through UCE and light if Devlin does so through his own production shingle.

For the last three years, Eick has served as a producer of such projects as the four-hour miniseries “Battlestar Galactica,” which Sci Fi will run in December, and “Inseparable,” an updating of the Jekyll-and-Hyde story for CBS produced by Sam Raimi and Shaun Cassidy. If “Galactica” harvests big Nielsens, Sci Fi plans to spin it off into a weekly series.

“My mandate is to service our inhouse networks in a creatively aggressive way,” said Eick.

From 1998-2000, Eick was senior VP of original series for USA Networks. For six years before that he was a top exec for Renaissance Pictures, where he worked on “Hercules: the Legendary Journeys” and “Xena: Warrior Princess,” both long-running hits in firstrun TV syndication.

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