Distorted Humor wrote:
One thing to remember is that with Star Trek, TNG, is that the only real competitors was live sports and what the Major broadcasts networks had on.
For example, in 1990, in my market even if you had Basic cable you had
Major Broadcast Networks: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX
Sports: ESPN and TBS (TBS main feature was that it showed Atlanta Braves Games and reruns)
A few cable channels, which consisted of reruns of old shows and perhaps nature documentaries.
"Independent" Channels - On my area it was WJZY (which turned off at midnight!!) and a Chicago broadcaster (wgn I think)
And a few assorted channels like the Home Shopping network.
The Independent channels would buy both reruns of stuff that was on broadcast TV, but also first run syndication, which in 1990 or so was Baywatch (Babewatch) and Star Trek, TNG.
When me and my wife first got together in 1992, we had QUBE cable through Time Warner and had sixty channels. TNG may have had the playing field to itself as far as sci-fi shows go, but it had general competition throughout its run. There were more than a handful of channels to watch.
But how many of those channels where showing first run broadcasts?
I did include "A few cable channels, which consisted of reruns of old shows and perhaps nature documentaries." and I did forget CNN which had a a near monopoly on the 24 hours news.
Today there is most likely over sixty channels producing original content of some sort. Between 1990-2000 you lost most independent TV channels to the newer UPN and WB networks, and doubled the number of cable channels, many of the cable channels producing original content.
In 1994 there was more then 20 firsts run syndicated hour shows for broadcasting. You had shows ranging from Star Trek : TNG and Star Trek: DS9, Baywatch, Xena: Warrior Princess, Hercules, Renegade (forgotten show, had over 100 episodes.), B5, Kung Fu, and so on.
In just a few years, between UPN/WB taking up stations, and the rapid development of cable stations producing original content, first run syndication as a whole fell off the deep end. Lets say that there was a Dozen or so options on TV when TNG was on. By the time season 4 of DS9 was on, there was most likely 100 options for the viewer.