I thought Fringe
only managed to eek out a truncated fifth season because Warner Bros. slashed the show's license fee to almost nothing? That's hardly an indicator of vast public support.
I'm also confused about all this talk of a new Trek series (or any dramatic series, for that matter) entering the market place through first-run syndication. The first-run syndication market is dead for anything other than cheap programming (i.e. talk and game shows) and has been that way for five years.
As for the talk of the Nielsen ratings system being "dead," it's still the primary way networks evaluate whether to renew or cancel programming. Saying that the ratings didn't matter for Battlestar Galactica
just isn't true. The low ratings were the reason Moore and Eick decided to end the series with season four -- the ratings were just too low for SyFy to be able to guarantee a fifth year.