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The "Star Trek" franchise boldly warped into a new realm of marketing hyperspace last year. And the man in the captain's chair is Rick Berman, who took the creative helm following the 1990 death of "Star Trek" creator Gene Roddenberry.

Mr. Berman, 48, who co-wrote "Star Trek: Generations" for Paramount and was executive producer for the highly rated syndicated TV shows "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine," is cultivating fertile ground for new generations of "Star Trek" promotions and licensed products.

And more opportunities certainly are likely.

Mr. Berman's "Star Trek: Voyager," which bowed in January, was the lone survivor of the first season of Paramount new broadcast network, UPN, and Mr. Berman is doing a sequel to the "Generations" film to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the "brand."

He's also helping develop a Las Vegas "Star Trek" theme park expected to open next year at the Las Vegas Hilton complex.

"Star Trek: Generations," which grossed $115 million worldwide, came out in November 1994 on the heels of the final episode of the seven-year-old "Next Generation" TV show. The film concluded the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk and the rest of the original "Star Trek" crew.

All in all, it's been "an insane amount of work," says Mr. Berman.

Mr. Berman credits the continued vitality of the franchise to its characters, Mr. Roddenberry's optimistic and wondrous vision of the future, and its now-mythic status in American pop culture.

It could be assumed that a person as passionate about "Star Trek" as Mr. Berman would have grown up a Trekkie. "No," he says. "In fact, I had very little contact with `Star Trek' prior to 1981, when I became an assistant to Gene Roddenberry."

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