Site ColumnsBy Michelle
February 25, 2005 - 9:36 PM
If I was a cynical Viacom executive, like, oh, say, Les Moonves, and I had any intention of keeping Star Trek: Enterprise on the air, here's what my strategy would be from early 2005 through the present.
First off, I'd cancel the show after months of suggesting that I would do just that. Enterprise is doing nothing for UPN and vice versa; UPN is quite simply no longer the appropriate venue for it, since UPN - which once billed itself as the adolescent white boys' network - now wants to attract women and urban audiences, and clearly has no intention of promoting Enterprise at all. But fortunately, if I was a Viacom executive, I'd have other options. For instance, I'd have Spike, the Men's Network, which conveniently already hosts reruns of the other Trek shows, so people associate Spike with Star Trek; this would seemingly make it the perfect place for Enterprise: Reloaded.
But to put a new Star Trek series on cable, I'd have to make it cheaper. Now, if I were a Viacom executive, I wouldn't drop the price tag for the SciFi Channel or some network that wasn't part of the "family," but I'd lower the licensing fees for one of my own cable stations. Along with the fees, the production values would probably have to drop too, to bring in the show within budget. Under normal circumstances, that's something I'd expect fans to cry bloody murder about. "What do you mean, cheaper makeup and costumes! What do you mean, fewer special effects!"
But if I'd already cancelled the show, no one would be complaining, would they? Instead of saying "Oh my god what a piece of garbage this show is turning into," fans would be saying, "Yay! More Enterprise!" And if even better, "WE saved the show! It was OUR phone calls and letters and money that made this happen! Go us!" When people have that kind of investment, it's less likely that they'll quit watching just because a show happens to be awful: "It may be a piece of garbage, but it's OUR piece of garbage."
Like New Coke, the marketing strategy would be brilliant because I wouldn't have to do any work at all. The fans would do it for me. Not a cent of Viacom's money would be spent to have CNN, the Associated Press, etc. doing articles about hysterical Trekkies and the next iteration of the franchise. The media would work for Star Trek, for free! Of course it helps that Viacom has its fingers in a lot of entertainment outlets already, but Paramount itself wouldn't have to take out advertising space in the L.A. Times; the fans would do that for us.
Thus, I could arrange for the broadcast of a Star Trek: Enterprise with mediocre if not godawful production values. I could have the special effects department blow up little paper Enterprises every week and film the show with a camcorder. I could make Star Trek cheap and ugly, and through it all, I could say: "This is what the true fans demanded!" At least, until the next Star Trek film was well underway. Then I could cancel the series for real, distract the fans with the promise of new, better Trek, and Enterprise could be forgotten.
I'm almost sorry I'm not Les Moonves, so I could get rich in the bargain.
Trek BBS Today
Below are some of the topics currently being discussed at the Trek BBS:
More topics can be found at the Trek BBS!
Trek Two Years Ago
These were some of the major news items from February 2003:
- TNN To Air TNG 'Uncut'
Cable network TNN (now Spike TV) announced that it would begin airing uncut episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in double themed episode sets every Friday night, shown in full-screen minus the network's usual black bar and with "limited commercial interruptions."
- UPN To Go More Multi-Ethnic?
UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said that the network was looking for "the trendsetter type of person" in its viewers, whom she described as "young, hip, contemporary...I don't know if that has a racial meaning as much as it pinpoints a characteristic of this particular demographic." She also noted that the network was seeking an ethnically diverse audience, saying, "People who buy rap and hip-hop are trendsetters."
- Trinneer Truthful To Trip
"I'll say something about my character if I think it's not going in the direction that I think [is right]," Connor Trinneer stated in an interview. "There have been occassions where I have sensed that the character's kind of been 'dumbed' down, and I have been very keen on not making this good old Southerner boy 'dumb'...he's commander of engineering."
More news can be found in the archives.
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Please vote in our new poll after you see "Divergence" and rate the episode!
Tomorrow, February 26th, is the birthday of Chase Masterson, Deep Space Nine's Leeta!
Today's Television Listings
Tonight at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, UPN will show a new Star Trek: Enterprise episode, "Divergence". Here's the official synopsis of the episode:
With Columbia's help, the Enterprise crew grapples with sabotage to their ship as they pursue the truth behind the kidnapping of Phlox.