'Enterprise' To Take Part In AIDS CampaignBy Caillan
October 14, 2002 - 9:52 AM
Over a decade since David Gerrold's AIDS allegory 'Blood and Fire' was shelved, the latest Star Trek incarnation, Enterprise, is set to feature a storyline related to the disease as part of a new public awareness campaign.
Media conglomerate Viacom, the parent company of Paramount Pictures and Enterprise network UPN, has joined forces with the Kaiser Foundation to educate the public about HIV and AIDS, according to the Reuters news agency.
Viacom will incorporate AIDS-related storylines into several television series starting next year. Enterprise is just one show committed to the campaign, with others including fellow UPN series Girlfriends and the multi Emmy Award-winning Frasier.
"The development of AIDS story lines in TV shows is critical," said Kaiser Foundation executive Matt James. "We have seen through the work we've done that when you put a health issue into a TV show that people watch in the millions, you can have a real impact on public education."
The company has pledged to fill unsold advertising slots with public service announcements promoting the prevention of HIV. Next Spring the campaign will go international, with Viacom planning to bring its message to Africa and Asia via local media outlets.
"We are putting Viacom's media resources behind a comprehensive, targeted campaign," said company president Mel Karmazin. "As the largest collection of ad platforms in the industry and a leading creator of entertainment and information, Viacom is uniquely suited to get the word out."
The introduction of an AIDS-related storyline on Enterprise will be the first attempt by a Trek series to deal with the disease since the early days of Star Trek: The Next Generation. David Gerrold's 1986 script 'Blood and Fire,' an AIDS allegory which also would have been Trek's first episode to feature homosexual characters, was never produced.