I've always wondered, if DS9 wasn't a Star Trek series, would it have been popular enough to have had TV movies along the lines of Babylon 5, a series I know DS9 trounced in the ratings.
Trounced is right. The ratings are hard to come by past the 96-97 season, I'd love to see them. IIRC, that season B5 averaged 50% of DS9's ratings. Now, timeslots was a factor. DS9 was given good timeslots (of course, some markets might not give a damn and toss it late night) whereas B5, in response to its ratings, many stations kept pushing it further from primetime leading to a situation where many viewers were complaining it was airing between midnight and 4AM in some markets. As for the movies, it was luck. All the movies were ordered when TNT liked Babylon 5 (97-98). Sometime later in 1998, they started to regret it, leading to the famous internal struggle at TNT between their 2 divisions over Crusade which ended up scuttling that series. TNT was a cable network trying to make a name for itself and it saw B5 had a very loyal audience, they liked the demographics, so they decided to go for it. They didn't like that the audience didn't spill over to other shows (who would have thought Babylon 5 fans wouldn't watch wrestling?