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Old April 13 2011, 07:51 PM   #46
SchwEnt
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

It's true that the series is both product and art.
It becomes a matter of...what did Gene claim and what did his actions reveal? Or a little of both?

Sure, with GR as a writer/producer, it is a job. A means of supporting himself and his family and paying the bills. It's a living in Hollywood.

As a creative medium, it can also be artistic expression.
As one can use painting or writing or photography or music, film and television can be a means of artistic expression.

And there's the middle ground, where an author might write up a manuscript on assignment, as a job. Or a photographer might take a series of shots for money.
Yes, a means of earning money. Also some sort of creative product.

Seems to me that Gene started out with ST as another Hollywood job, another venture in the business.
Later, to keep the ball rolling, allowed himself to be revered as some humanistic visionary, an inspirational futurist with grand dreams of mankind.

Was ST always his greatest artistic expression of his grand vision of the future? Or just another project he worked on, one job amongst many in the business?
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Old April 13 2011, 08:55 PM   #47
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

I think that when you create a television show, and you bring up a lot of great points, it becomes a vision... a creative medium... a child... something you hold dear to yourself. These are your characters, your ideas, your stories, your world... You tend to, or at least I would hope, become attached to your creation emotionally and mentally.

It doesn't become a job it becomes apart of you.

When you abandon your creation, your child, you're essentially leaving apart of yourself behind. You're giving up, setting yourself up for defeat as well as that child who now must fend for themselves or must readjust to the care of another person.

I think Gene gave up, he let his ego get in his way, and he left the show because he was stubborn. Instead of dealing with the bureaucracy of network television he abandoned his child. He still collected checks, but he just left everyone else in the wind and gave his, now problem child, to someone else to take care of. The show went astray...

This is a man that was afraid of his own creations consuming him and becoming more powerful than he. This is a man who spent hours upon hours, nights upon nights, on set building his show and taking care of his show to the standards he set. To leave it behind only speaks someone who was too stubborn to stick with his creation and fight through the mess. He let the show self destruct rather than work it and try to make it better. I just can't look at that as someone standing ground.
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Old April 14 2011, 05:51 PM   #48
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Merky wrote: View Post
NBC never promised anything.
Based on what do you say that? Were you in the meetings? According to diverse sources ranging from Roddenberry himself to Shatner and Nimoy, Roddenberry wanted to negotiate the best time slot possible for Star Trek in the hopes of improving viewership. He went to NBC and offered to remain not only executive producer, but also return to a day-to-day line producer role to ensure the quality of the show, if they agreed to give him the Monday evening time slot. NBC agreed to those terms. It wasn't "tentative." It was an agreement between NBC and Roddenberry. "You give me scheduling agreement X; I'll perform service Y."

When they changed their mind, Gene had a choice. He could either continue forward with his day-to-day involvement despite their welching on their bargain, or he could hold firm to the terms he had discussed with them and back away from day-to-day involvement. Had he done the former, he would never have had any success in any negotiations with NBC ever again, because they would know he was not serious in his negotiations.

Regardless, I don't believe it was Roddenberry backing away that hurt Star Trek. I believe it was the loss of Gene Coon and Robert Justman, and the flawed selection of Fred Freiberger as the new line producer, that hurt the show in its third season.
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Old April 14 2011, 06:48 PM   #49
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Were you in the meetings?
Were any of us, even Shatner and Nimoy?

At of the end of the day, business isn't done on promises and word of mouth. Looking at it from NBC's standpoint, it would have been a dumbass move to move their no. 1 rated show from the coveted Monday's @ 8pm time slot to a Friday @ 10pm. When the advertising went up for sale on the shows, Dean Martin's laugh in was worth 10k more a minute than Star Trek -- so you honestly believe that NBC was going to loose money on this show? Whatever they did before they finalized the schedule is tentative/penciled in/etc. NBC didn't guarantee anything.

On premiere week, Star Trek had actually won it's time slot share in the Nielsen NY market:



But, I'm pretty sure after an episode like Spock's Brain the viewership dropped like flies.



Owait, it did. Look at that.

There's three sides to a story - Their side, his side, and the truth. I refuse to look at one side of the story and declare it as the "truth". I will read the industry magazines, I will look at the numbers, I will look at their side of the story and I will come up with my own conclusion of how the events went down. NBC has a history of dicking shows, but NBC also is ruthless in trying to keep atop of the ratings.



So of course NBC wouldn't put Star Trek on a prime time Monday night time slot.

It doesn't take a timeslot change to kill a show. If a show is good a show will carry it's weight. What I see here is Gene giving up and rather than stick buy and work with what he got, he left. That's being stubborn, I don't care what NBC did. NBC wants to make money and win the ratings - Star Trek wasn't doing that. It's not the station's responsibility to carry the viewership's interest, your writing and production does that. You have to look at it from a business perspective. Leave your ego at the door.
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Old April 14 2011, 07:20 PM   #50
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Merky wrote: View Post

If a show is good a show will carry it's weight.
You don't really believe that do you?
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Old April 14 2011, 07:33 PM   #51
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

BillJ wrote: View Post
Merky wrote: View Post

If a show is good a show will carry it's weight.
You don't really believe that do you?
Just because you think it's good doesn't mean the other 300 million Americans do.

Owait, I forgot. This is sci-fi fandom, just about every hardcore fan thinks that. Soooorrrryyyyy~
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Old April 14 2011, 08:09 PM   #52
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Gene Roddenberry was a guy who had one really good idea (Star Trek) in his life and tried to ride it for as long as he could with varying degrees of success. He was just a writer/producer for television. He was not a visionary, philosopher, messiah, prophet or any of the other things I've heard from fans who have tried to deify the man.
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Old April 15 2011, 10:30 PM   #53
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Merky wrote: View Post
At of the end of the day, business isn't done on promises and word of mouth.
Oh yeah? Welcome to Hollywood.
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Old April 15 2011, 10:51 PM   #54
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

I don't usually do this, but I've got to.

Dean Martin wasn't on Laugh-In. Dick Martin, no relation, was. Deano had his own show that had nothing to do with Laugh-In.

Ironically enough, The Dean Martin Show finished its life in 1974, on Fridays at 10 PM.
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Old April 16 2011, 12:03 AM   #55
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Merky wrote: View Post
At of the end of the day, business isn't done on promises and word of mouth.
Oh yeah? Welcome to Hollywood.
If that was the case, Hollywood would have imploded itself on itself. If that ideology was common place, broadcasting in general would self implode. Business is business, bro. People got mouths to feed and bills to pay at the end of the day, promises and funny money doesn't feed those mouths and pay those bills.

Shatnertage wrote: View Post
I don't usually do this, but I've got to.

Dean Martin wasn't on Laugh-In. Dick Martin, no relation, was. Deano had his own show that had nothing to do with Laugh-In.

Ironically enough, The Dean Martin Show finished its life in 1974, on Fridays at 10 PM.
My mistake. I think I kept seeing the Jerry Lewis Show and automatically kept thinking Dean Martin.

Which Star Trek ended up replacing for its final run on Tuesdays after its hiatus in April apparently... Wish I could get my hands on some ratings for that period to compare.
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Old April 16 2011, 07:58 AM   #56
Devon
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

What do people feel about Gene?

If I hear "Roddenberry's vision" after his first name one more time I'm going to scream! That's how I feel about him.

Mysterion wrote: View Post
Gene Roddenberry was a guy who had one really good idea (Star Trek) in his life and tried to ride it for as long as he could with varying degrees of success. He was just a writer/producer for television. He was not a visionary, philosopher, messiah, prophet or any of the other things I've heard from fans who have tried to deify the man.
Exactly.
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Old April 17 2011, 01:13 AM   #57
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Merky wrote: View Post
If that was the case, Hollywood would have imploded itself on itself. If that ideology was common place, broadcasting in general would self implode.
Then how do deals ever get made? First the handshake. Not everything gets put into writing for a reason; so it's easy to back out on a promise without being sued. Roddenberry was made a handshake promise, in order for NBC to get what they wanted: Roddenberry back as line-producer - and that timeslot promise was revoked by NBC, and yet you say GR should have put up with that attitude and stayed another whole year.

Business is business, bro. People got mouths to feed and bills to pay at the end of the day, promises and funny money doesn't feed those mouths and pay those bills.
Exactly. Which is why Roddenberry walked away. To try his hand at something else, with a studio who appreciated what he brought to the table. And when Paramount wanted him back for "Phase II" in 1977 - and for TNG in 1986 - Roddenberry insisted on changes - and that TNG be first-run syndication... so he wasn't able to be screwed by NBC or another network again.
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Old April 17 2011, 02:59 AM   #58
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Being an artist myself I'd have to say I'd do exactly what Roddenberry did. If I had put so much time and effort and my own money into a series and then the network was trying to screw me over by moving my show out of it's time slot, you'd better believe I'd dump the thing. And then I'd tell them what to go do with it.

I never knew Gene and I wished I did. I heard him speak on several occasions and met him once. He was a kind and gentle man and honestly never spoke above a whisper. Was he eccentric, yes. But he had a lot of GOOD ideas.

Star Trek was never the same after he died. The idea of peace, unity and friendship on the starship went with him. While he was alive the characters on his series cared about each other and cared about the world around them. After his death, there was a lot of whining and complaining and backstabbing by characters that had no morality because Berman believed there was no morality left in this world.

I've said it once and I'll say it forever. Berman screwed up the franchise. He had no idea what it was truly about and he never will.

The franchise came from what the essence of Gene Roddenberry was (and of those he chose to work with) and he when he died he took the series with him...as does the work of all artists.
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Old April 17 2011, 04:15 AM   #59
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Roddenberry was made a handshake promise, in order for NBC to get what they wanted: Roddenberry back as line-producer - and that timeslot promise was revoked by NBC, and yet you say GR should have put up with that attitude and stayed another whole year.
The less self-aggrandizing and more plausible version of what happened here is simply this:

Roddenberry believed, not unreasonably, that a Friday time slot meant sure cancellation for the series and for that reason declined to invest his time and creative energy in the series choosing instead to pursue work which might have a future. He was hardly the only staff person to choose to do so in the third year; the others did not have or later develop public platforms from which to assert their remarkable integrity in so choosing.

It was a purely pragmatic decision, and if one reads what's been written by others who worked on the show it was not viewed by all the crew and actors as a particularly admirable or principled one.

Gerrold, for example, made some effort to explain the rationale behind it in a positive way, in "The World Of Star Trek," and of course the reason for making that effort is that it could be and had been construed much more simply as a matter of self-interest and abandonment of the Trek production.

What's most peculiar about the "handshake deal" story is that GR clearly understood how negatively his decision to withdraw from doing much other than collecting his pay on Trek could be seen and considered that possibility as significant enough to make a point of telling and retelling, for public consumption by his fanbase, a story of putative betrayal based upon a verbal agreement - that is, a claim that could never be supported by evidence. It might fairly be characterized as defensive and a bit of "protesting too much;" it was certainly consistent with his favored method of enhancing his stature with the fans by genially characterizing most businesspeople who disagreed with him in those days as fools and/or philistines.

Last edited by Admiral Buzzkill; April 17 2011 at 04:27 AM.
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Old April 17 2011, 04:36 AM   #60
Merky
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Re: What do people feel about Gene?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
Merky wrote: View Post
If that was the case, Hollywood would have imploded itself on itself. If that ideology was common place, broadcasting in general would self implode.
Then how do deals ever get made? First the handshake. Not everything gets put into writing for a reason; so it's easy to back out on a promise without being sued. Roddenberry was made a handshake promise, in order for NBC to get what they wanted: Roddenberry back as line-producer - and that timeslot promise was revoked by NBC, and yet you say GR should have put up with that attitude and stayed another whole year.
Your theory is that the broadcasting industry works on hand shakes and verbal agreements when it doesn't work that way. It doesn't matter if Gene was promised the entire world - NBC wasn't obligated to Gene and NBC wasn't going to break their back for Gene. So if Gene thought NBC was going to go out there way and move their no. 1 show from its Prime slot to put in a show that not only lost 10k+ in advertising per minute but kept dropping in ratings, then Gene was a fool. An egotistical fool that was only looking at himself

I sat my father down and talked with him about this. He works in radio, went to school for broadcasting, and worked for an ABC affiliate for 5 years so I think he would know what he was talking about. He agreed with me that its foolish for a studio to even waste their time on a show that wasn't proving itself from the first season. A network would rather cut the show then lose money, and NBC was loosing money on ST. If there's problems with people watching the show, then the producers and writers needed to get together and figure out why the show isn't catching on and what could they do to fix the problem. Obviously Fred's vision of fixing ST backfired in a big way but had Gene stayed maybe it would not have been such shit if he was willing to fix the problem.

I don't care how many books you read on it, you're not looking at this from a broadcasting business angle. NBC had nothing to gain from ST and Gene threatening to walk off the show if it didn't get moved just shows how stubborn and egotistical he was. NBC couldn't give a flying shit who walked on and off that set, they were going to do what they were going to do.

Exactly. Which is why Roddenberry walked away. To try his hand at something else, with a studio who appreciated what he brought to the table. And when Paramount wanted him back for "Phase II" in 1977 - and for TNG in 1986 - Roddenberry insisted on changes - and that TNG be first-run syndication... so he wasn't able to be screwed by NBC or another network again.
Nothing was stopping Gene from creating and producing shows while working on ST. So that reasoning can just fly out the window. Obviously many writers on ST were moonlighting to other studios so that was not a good enough reason for Gene to leave. He left to fulfill his own self interest and dicked everyone else. The captain always goes down with their ship, as they said.

Gene sat around, collected a check, and rode out the train until the reached the end of it's tracks. Gene turned his back on ST until he realized the show was becoming profitable again. Who wouldn't return to something that was going to guarantee bank? Gene was a shrewd businessman with an ego.

It was a purely pragmatic decision, and if one reads what's been written by others who worked on the show it was not viewed by all the crew and actors as a particularly admirable or principled one.
I believe Nimoy remarked that the show lost a bit of it's touch once Gene left in his book...
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