'TV Guide': Paramount Cut Star Trek's PriceBy Michelle
June 14, 2004 - 8:58 PM
UPN renewed Star Trek: Enterprise because Paramount TV substantially dropped the price per episode, a new report has claimed.
Next week's TV Guide, dated June 20th - 26th, has printed that according to sources, the real reason UPN renewed Enterprise was that Paramount offered to drop the price of each episode of the series from $1.7 million to $800,000. Reporter Stephen Battaglio called it "an offer [UPN] couldn’t refuse."
With UPN aiming for a female demographic, putting America's Top Model on Wednesday night along with new drama Kevin Hill, there was no room for Enterprise in its former time slot, which put it in competition with the more successful genre series Smallville on the WB as well as with ratings powerhouse American Idol. Paramount argued that UPN could afford to air a reduced-price Enterprise on Friday nights, when the network's ratings have been dismal.
It has long been known that Paramount strongly desired a fourth season for syndication rights, which become far more lucrative for a series that has produced nearly 100 episodes. Paramount will make up some of its lost revenue on a syndication deal, and more on merchandise sold to Star Trek fans.
"While only Trekkers would care if the show was canceled, Paramount knows it pays to keep them happy because Trekkers buy a lot of merchandise," wrote Battaglio. "Star Trek video games, books, dolls and other collectibles ring up about $200 million a year in retail sales, bringing in royalties of $20 million to Paramount."
"It’s important to have fresh Trek product lines," Marty Brochstein of The Licensing Letter told TV Guide. "There are still a lot of die hard fans. And they want more."
TV Guide has not yet posted this article on its web site but it may be available on newsstands. Many thanks to Craig Morris for transcribing it.