Berman, UPN Speak on 'Enterprise' CancellationBy Michelle
February 3, 2005 - 9:52 PM
Executive producer Rick Berman blames "franchise fatigue" for the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise and said he expects a minimum three-year hiatus before a new Trek is launched. He added that the series finale would be "something of a valentine" for the fans.
Speaking to USA Today in the wake of the show's cancellation yesterday, Berman said, "The fact that we've done 624 hours of Star Trek over the last 18 years...there's a point at which you can reach a sense of overkill. It's probably good to lay fallow for a while to rejuvenate."
Zap2It quoted Berman as saying that the season finale was conceived as a series finale, and refusing to comment on rumours that Next Generation stars Marina Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes would appear in it. "We're not giving away any surprises," he stated.
Though fan efforts to save Enterprise are largely focusing on the idea that the series could be sold to a different network or syndicated, Berman said he didn't feel the marketplace would permit such a move. "First-run has been relegated now mostly to shows with far lower budgets than we have," he noted. "They're usually produced in Canada, and they're done on a budget less than half of what Paramount has been so generous to give us."
Star Trek: The Next Generation debuted with no science fiction competition, while now there's an entire Sci-Fi Channel with a lineup to compete with Enterprise - not to mention reruns of the previous Star Trek series in syndication and on cable. Gary Levin noted that the announcement of the series' cancellation came just after the announcement of its sale into syndication, saying the "cause of death" was a drop in viewership from 5.9 million in its first season to 2.9 million in its fourth.
Berman also told Sci Fi Wire that he doesn't understand why Trek ratings always drop after Christmas, but the trend on Enterprise is entirely unusual. He expressed less bafflement with the network's decision to drop the low-rated Enterprise than with the fact that greater numbers of fans had not tuned in this season.
E! Online, via Yahoo!, noted that the franchise's present looks "a little murky" but emphasized Paramount focus on its future, quoting UPN's statement that network executives "believe in the show creatively, but the ratings just weren't there."
Though this fall will mark the first time in 18 years that there will not be new Trek episodes on television, Paramount Network Television president David Stapf described Star Trek as "enduring" although no plans for a new film are in the works at present either.