I agree here. The hard-core fans were the ones who made Trek come back after TOS was cancelled in 1969. They kept the dream alive. Without them Trek would have been a commodity from the 60:s.
A show or any entertainment thing who loses its hardcore fans is doomed. The casual viewers may add money to the box and numbers to the ratings but they can never carry a show. Why? because they are casual viewers. They don't have the heart for it in the same way as the hardcore fans have. If they find another novelty, they might abandon Trek or whatever it is for the new show. The hardcore fans are those who carry the show in difficult times and who can be the deciding factor if the show might stay alive or not.
Yes, yes yes. but hard core fans alone do not make up enough of the numbers to secure a shows ratings. We need the casual viewers to keep a show running. That's why they put Ryan in a catsuit, that's why they brought Worf onto DS9 and added a kick ass warship. These were meant to bring in viewers that normal didn't watch Trek to amp up the cool factor. If we have the casual viewers watching, then fans
won't need to do things to keep the show alive. Having both fans and casual viewers will keep a show running without worry. We need them. Any producer will tell you, we look to fan feed back but they don't run the show. They need us as fans but they're not to going to cater to our every whim because there are more watching then just us.
Don't forget, many of those hard core fans that brought Trek back started out as casual ones. Allot of the TNG fan base stated off as casual fans because TOS fans wouldn't watch it at first.
Why so hostile to the Kes fans? You know, there are many fans who like Kes, maybe more than those who dislike her.
It's not about being hostile but rather stating what I know through my education about the behind the scenes business of how TV production works. Kes fans insist on Lien begin fired was something personal against them, they refuse to understand the decision was a business one which has nothing to do directly with them. For example, you just agreed that there are more viewers that didn't like Kes over those that do, then why are Kes fans so hostile toward TPTB for doing what was clearly in the best interest of the majority of the viewing audience?
If you created a show and the majority of the viewing audience isn't warming up to one or two of the characters, do you still keep that character knowing you could loose the greater majority or to you cut that character and only loose the smaller minority? As someone in charge of a show these are just some of the choices you have to make. You always do what's best to appeal to the majority.
They had a choice to cut the two least liked characters, Kim and Kes. Wang got a gold star for being in People's most sexiest. If the readers of People saw that, then the producers determined that Wang's image had the potential to get those readers to tune in. So the ax fell on Lien. It was a business choice they had too make to keep the larger part of the viewing audience. In the end he didn't but at that moment in time, they had to make a choice based on what they knew then. Paramount has marketing researchers whos purpose is to find out all this information and give feed back based on what info they have available. They know what characters the audience likes as well as the ones they don't. It's why certain characters got more development over others because it's based on audience feed back. For example, lets just say they polled random viewers and found out the the majority thought Chakotay was ok, didn't really like him but didn't hate him either. However, they did find that he got high marks with the female perspective of the audience. So while they might not put any more effort into developing his character, they keep him around to keep the female demographic watching.
So they we're willing to loose the minority but had high hopes in bringing in a larger majority with a character like Seven. While she many not have helped ratings long term, there is no doubt her image made Paramount LOTS of money. So in the end they still won.
As for sales, even critical fans like me might contribute to that. I recently bought a Star Trek Calender, I bought the latest Voyager book (just to read about Janeway's return) and I might buy the first three seasons of Voyager on Blue-Ray when the time comes. I also watched the Abrams movie, although I wasn't that enthusiastic over it and the scenario which was presented in it.
You aren't enough. Paramount want Trek to be just as marketable as Star Wars. Trek has been around decades longer but the there is no reason why with the right marketing every child, every adult be they a die hard fan or not have some type of Trek merchandise in their home. Be it a t-shirt, video game, poster or coffee cup. That's their goal.
As far as J.J. Abrams film, the same argument was made by TOS fans when they announced TNG going into production. TOS fans refused to get on board and watch TNG because it was new and different but TNG found a new audience and millions of new Trek fans were born before the TOS fans gave in and started to watch. Abrams films will find and create a new generation of Trek fans before the old school ones accept it.