Keep on Trekkin'
By David Richardson and Stephen Payne

TWENTY FIVE years ago, Star Trek was all but dead. As far as Hollywood executives were concerned, it was a show that attracted a small cult following, and one which held little prospect for achieving mainstream popularity. Today, the Star Trek franchise is a multi-media business with a solid and substantial audience. It rakes in millions of dollars every year, thanks to television and video sales of the four separate series, a vast merchandise machine encompassing everything from books to games to action figures, and an ever-growing series of movies.
This turnaround in the show's fortunes is due, in no small part, to executive producer Rick Berman.
Berman came aboard in 1987 for the inception of Star Trek: The Next Generation, then took overall responsibility for the show following Gene Roddenberry's death in 1991. Under his guidance the voyages of the Enterprise 1701-D lasted for seven years, garnered 55 Emmy nominations and then went on to supercede the original crew at the movies. With Michael Piller, Berman created the spin-off series Deep Space Nine (now in its sixth season), and Voyager (now in its fourth). For the first time ever the ratings of both shows are higher than the preceding year, and, following the astronomical success of Star Trek: First Contact, a ninth movie is in the works.

Pre-Production
"It's going very well," Berman grins, when asked about the current state of affairs on Star Trek IX, which is provisionally titled Stardust. "We are in pre-production. The entire cast of The Next Generation is in it, and there will be a number of guest roles that haven't been cast yet.
"We are working on the second draft of the script. We're in the nasty budgeting stages of it, and we're working with all the visual effects houses, deciding which one or two are going to do all the visual effects work for us. Next week Jonathan [Frakes] and I will be going out and doing some location scouting in Northern California. We should be starting filming as early as March."


"We are in pre-production. The entire cast of The Next Generation is in it, and there will be a number of guest roles that haven't been cast yet"

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