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'Enterprise' Announcement Coming This Week?

By Christian
April 23, 2001 - 12:14 PM

With UPN's future now ensured by last week's FCC ruling, the network seems to be wasting no time making commitments for its upcoming Fall season. After already announcing they'd snatched Buffy the Vampire Slayer from the WB, it now looks like they will finally also be announcing the next Star Trek series this week.

Josef Adalian at the Daily Variety reported that "UPN is expected to receive another boost as early as this week, with Paramount Network Television set to announce that the next series in the Star Trek franchise, the tentatively titled Enterprise, will bow on the network in the fall." The Hollywood trade paper went on to say that, although Paramount and UPN are both owned by Viacom, it had been rumoured that Enterprise could end up elsewhere, but it now seems fairly firm the Trek franchise will remain on UPN.

Star Trek producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have reportedly been wanting to announce the series for months now, a sentiment that was publicly expressed by Braga when he visited the recent Grand Slam convention. An announcement was apparently being held up by the lack of a firm UPN commitment, but now that the network appears ready to announce the show we will hopefully also soon hear more from the creative team.

One other issue that might still hold up the official announcement is that no main star has apparently been signed yet. Ain't It Cool News reported yesterday that negotiations with Quantum Leap actor Scott Bakula are back on, with earlier talks breaking down over both financial and creative issues. The actor has been linked to the role of Captain Jackson Archer.

Apparently, Bakula asked for approval and veto rights for Enterprise, not an unusual demand for well-known actors joining a new TV series, though no Star Trek series has ever given its actors such power. Bakula, however, has extensive experience in this area. He served as executive producer on his short-lived CBS series Mr. & Mrs. Smith, and has created TV movies such as 'Bachelor's Baby' and 'Papa's Angels' with his Bakula Productions company.

Whether this new round of negotiations means the two sides were able to settle their differences is unknown.

Even if a Star Trek announcement doesn't yet come this week, UPN is still basking in the glory of obtaining the rights to Buffy. With the show, the network finally has a chance to increase its public image. "[This show] make it possible to launch other quality shows with it," said UPN CEO Dean Valentine. "It's a great thing for us."

After a round of negative comments by the WB, Buffy creator Joss Whedon was also happy with the move. "I've been dumped by my fat old ex and Prince Charming has come and swept me off my feet," he told Variety. "I'm mostly very excited because I now have a network that cares about my show as opposed to one that insults it."

More on the Buffy move can be found in this Variety article, which also contains a detailed description of how the WB lost the bidding war to UPN.

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