The funny thing is I've always wondered about exactly how much interference from TPTB they had on the DS9 staff. As a syndicated show I've always felt TNG benefited from not having to meet strict criteria like a typical network show, and that Berman, Piller and Taylor were given a lot of leeway to self-regulate the content of that show (which they did). VOY famously had much
more studio interference, but I've always suspected that the situation of it being a network show (UPN) was a large part of that. Which brings us back to DS9. My gut instinct has always been that DS9 didn't suffer much by way of studio "notes", but on reflection it seems clear that they did. The attempts to revamp the format (introducing the Defiant in season three, and transplanting Worf into the series in season four) indicate that there were obviously notes floating around saying the format needed boosting.
I'm certainly glad they resisted the temptation to "make it more like TNG" and that Godawful idea about putting engines on the side of the station. Maybe the Defiant was a compromise? An ability for the series to tell more rampantly "Star Trek" type stories with a ship while not selling out the concept of DS9 itself being stationary.