RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 135,730
Posts: 5,215,044
Members: 24,211
Currently online: 944
Newest member: DeimosAnimus


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old January 13 2014, 02:57 AM   #31
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

CrazyMatt wrote: View Post
Based on the books by Solow & Justman, Shatner, and now Cushman, I think the key factor in Star Trek's cancellation was the often caustic relationship between GR and NBC.

While he was the head of Desilu (and later Paramount, albeit briefly) TV productions (official title: "Executive in Charge of Production"), Herb Solow was able to be a buffer between the 'combatants.' But when he left late in the second season, the buffer was lost.
To an extent, perhaps, but the show wasn't in a strong position for renewal even aside from that. It was expensive to produce and struggled in the ratings, and it had its budget cut more and more each season. The network execs wanted to keep it, for the reasons I mentioned above, but they were losing money by doing so, and eventually it reached the point where they just couldn't afford not to cancel it.

Maybe if Roddenberry had stuck with the show and had a better relationship with the network, some kind of a deal could've been struck for a fourth season, but it probably would've had even fewer episodes and less budget per episode, even fewer guest stars and effects, and I have to wonder if they could've even managed to tell effective science fiction stories under those constraints.


Warped9 wrote: View Post
Star Trek did have more than the usual post-production costs on average as well the costs of costuming, props and sets beyond what already existed. Of course we know they also canabalized what they could from things they had already made and could be used again. Mind you this was expected going in when the series sold given the series' concept. But Mission: Impossible also spent a lot of money in similar fashion and perhaps more so in production. M:I had to have new gadgets designed and built for most every episode as well as have f/x of their own. In production a lot of time and money was spent for far more than average number of camera setups, certainly more than even Star Trek.
On the other hand, M:I did reuse sets extensively. They had a standardized prison set that kept showing up over and over, as well as a standard hospital/office hallway set, a standard mansion set, etc. They would redress them to represent different locations, but they got pretty familiar after a while. Plus they used the Paramount lot's office building exteriors as locations dozens of times. Not to mention, of course, the extensive use of the Culver City backlot which Star Trek also used.

As far as f/x go, I figure you mean special effects in the sense of practical effects done live on set, since I don't remember M:I having anywhere near the number of optical effects (animation, mattes, camera tricks, etc.) that ST used.


Maurice wrote: View Post
"Number One show on Friday nights" could mean the whole night was a ratings wasteland for NBC and Trek just peaked above the other badly performing shows.
Not just for NBC, but for everyone. If there was a "Friday night wasteland," that means it was a bad time for any network to schedule a show. The "wasteland" existed because people were going out and doing stuff on Friday nights, since they didn't have school or work the next day and could stay up late. TV viewing in general wasn't big on Friday nights. So it's where networks dumped low-value shows while the hits were scheduled on more popular nights. Thus, ST could've been ahead of the other Friday-night shows but still done poorly in absolute terms, because all the Friday-night shows did poorly.

It's interesting how things have changed in subsequent decade, since for a while not that many years ago, Friday night was one of the biggest nights for SFTV. It was where the Sci-Fi Channel put its biggest shows, and the only reason they abandoned "Sci-Fi Friday" was because they got the wrestling contract and that was very popular on Fridays, so they didn't want to move it.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 03:10 AM   #32
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Christopher wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
"Number One show on Friday nights" could mean the whole night was a ratings wasteland for NBC and Trek just peaked above the other badly performing shows.
Not just for NBC, but for everyone. If there was a "Friday night wasteland," that means it was a bad time for any network to schedule a show...
Not disagreeing, but just to be clear I was replying to Warped9 writing that "[Cushman] says it was [NBC's] Number One show on Friday nights."
__________________
* * *
“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”
― Orson Welles
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 03:16 AM   #33
Christopher
Writer
 
Christopher's Avatar
 
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

^Sure, but I'm just putting it into broader context.
__________________
Christopher L. Bennett Homepage -- Site update 4/8/14 including annotations for Rise of the Federation: Tower of Babel

Written Worlds -- My blog
Christopher is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 03:16 AM   #34
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Solow does say that when Paramount took over he soon lost any stomach for working for them, and so he soon walked away.

Of course what we are trying to do is confirm the veracity of Cushman's assertions in regard to the ratings. It would be foolish for him to fabricate numbers, but perhaps they weren't interpreted correctly.

The information can be cut two ways. Either Cushman has misinterpreted the numbers or NBC misrepresented them as an excuse to cancel the show. Just because we've accepted NBC's version of the situation for so long doesn't automatically make it true. It isn't the first or only time long held "truths" have been challenged and sometimes proven false.

For decades many if not most people accepted the notion NBC didn't like "The Cage" and particularly didn't like Number One. But even before Cushman's book that accepted notion was revealed to be false. They quite liked "The Cage" and liked the character of Number One. But that said they didn't think "The Cage" was suitable to launch the kind of series they wanted and they objected to Majel Barrett.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 03:23 AM   #35
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

See, this is where the argument falls down: NBC is a business. They can/did cancel shows for all kinds of reasons, from ratings to cost to bad relationships with the production company to schedule rearrangements which leave no good slot for the show. After all CBS cancelled Gilligan's Island after verbally committing to a 4th season because William Paley forced them to put Gunsmoke back on the schedule after it had been cancelled, and to make room they junked a show they didn't have faith in AND a successful series (Gilligan). They killed the Smothers' Brothers show over creative differences. NBC could have killed Star Trek for any number of reasons had they wanted to, so some elaborate scheme to pretend it wasn't successful isn't necessary.
__________________
* * *
“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”
― Orson Welles
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 03:35 AM   #36
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

But they asserted the show was a ratings failure as the reasoning for cancellation. And just because it's a business doesn't preclude people from making decisions that run counter to good sense. If Star Trek was simply too expensive to keep on the air then they could simply say that and be justified in acting on it.

But the show wasn't costing them more than what they paid for it (the studio was eating the overruns) and it was apparently winning its time slots and they were happy with the series. And, as Christopher has said, it was a classy and prestigious show for them. So from their standpoint all appeared to be well except for GR's behaviour pissing them off.

If anyone was unhappy with the show it looks to be Desilu suits.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 03:38 AM   #37
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Wait wait wait. As established above, we not established that it was apparently winning its time slots. We thus far have a handful of statistics cited by an author who's made a number of demonstrably factually dubious assertions. Let's see what Harvey comes up with. Also, do we have a statement from NBC that says the show was cancelled due to low ratings? Everyone says that's the reason, but did they ever actually say that?
__________________
* * *
“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”
― Orson Welles
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 04:04 AM   #38
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

The word "apparently" is meant to say it's still an open question.

There is also the added citings that Daily Variety reported in its February 1967 issue that ABC Sales International, representing Desilu, sold Star Trek to 28 foreign countries and the series had been dubbed into four languages...so far. So that, along with numerous merchandising tie-in revenues, were already paying into the studio. And the series was only one year old. That kind of incoming revenue could more than offset the episode budget overruns.

The toy tie-in merchandise was already getting into the stores for Christmas 1966. Early in 1967 AMT released the crowning tie-in, their model kit of the Enterprise, and that kit would be the most successful sci-fi model kit of all time considering its longevity. In mid 1967 Bantam started releasing its tie-in books, the James Blish adaptations of the episodes. It's also at this time that Gold Key started its Star Trek comic book line.

While Star Trek debuted (with "The Man Trap") to less than stellar reviews by the end of the season the show was getting good press. People were talking about the show and most of it in a positive light. This undoubtedly emphasized the sense that NBC had a classy and prestigious production in its stable.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 06:47 AM   #39
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Okay, while we're waiting on Harvey I've gone ahead and done some averaging of my own. I've used the 29 Nielsen National reports Cushman cites in the book. Note that this is only for the first run of the 29 episodes and doesn't include the summer reruns.

From Sept. 8th, 1966 through to April 4th, 1967 Star Trek averaged 18.45 in ratings and averaged a 29.39 share. Although we still need a detailed comparison with the other shows it was running against on each night a new TOS episode aired at first glance it looks like Star Trek was a solid close second place overall. Sometimes it scored first and sometimes third, but overall (and more often) it placed a close second. By those metrics on the nights the show aired it certainly doesn't look like a disappointment. And while the show doesn't look to have cracked the Top 10 or 20 or 30 it does appear to have ranked comfortably in the Top 40 out of 90 shows. Again I don't see how that can be taken as a disappointment.

In comparison Mission: Impossible was bleeding money, frequently running over in production days and running late in delivery dates and apparently ranking distinctly lower than Star Trek in ratings, and yet not one peep of discontent or considering cancellation of the show after one season.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 07:45 AM   #40
Harvey
Admiral
 
Harvey's Avatar
 
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

My averages for the first run shows, by the way, are the same for the first-run:

18.46 average rating; 29.39 average share.

For the second run, which doesn't have a complete data set in the book:

17.25 average rating; 29.63 average share.

--

Are you assuming Mission: Impossible was lower in the ratings than Star Trek based on the two-week chart Cushman draws up, or do you have more solid numbers? Consulting The Complete Mission: Impossible Dossier it indicates that the series finished 51st in the ratings (very close to the numbers Star Trek averaged in its first season according to a few trade reports I've drudged up so far -- in fact, maybe slightly better).

The book says that many felt the show (M:I) was going to be cancelled, but it had the support of William Paley, President of CBS. Plus, it was nominated for (and then won) the Best Dramatic Emmy in March of '67. Also, as the book points out, the ratings for Mission: Impossible were higher than expected when episodes 1 & 4 were re-run around Christmas, and then the show's ratings began to climb after that.
__________________
"This begs explanation." - de Forest Research on Star Trek

My blog: Star Trek Fact Check.
Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 07:56 AM   #41
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

The info on M:I in TATV is negligible and essentially worthless. Makes sense since Cushman seems to have been focusing on the nights TOS actually aired and not the weeks overall. M:I aired on Saturday nights in 1966/67 and so wasn't in direct competition with Star Trek. And from looking around it doesn't look like M:I became a Top 30 or 20 show until it's third season, although I could be wrong.

Would it be possible to get more info from the old Daily Variety issues?
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 07:59 AM   #42
Maurice
Vice Admiral
 
Maurice's Avatar
 
Location: Maurice in San Francisco
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

I've been emailing Harvey re what Star Trek's competition was, and you can actually see Trek's ratings change when the opposing shows get moved around.

Trek's average share for the 8:30–9 slot for weeks 2–4 (I'm ignoring the week 1 aberration since it was up against only reruns on CBS that week) was 34.44 against ABC's bombtastic Tammy Grimes Show, cancelled after 4 episodes. When Grimes was replaced by The Dating Game(!!!), Trek's average share dropped to 28.39.

One could argue that The Dating Game of all things sucked 6.05 share points from Star Trek...that's a 21% drop!

Furthermore Trek's average share for that half hour dropped even further to 27.81 when Bewitched moved from 9 to 8:30. That's a 6.63 share drop from the show's first weeks.

Conversely, when Bewitched vacated the 9 pm slot, Trek's rating for that half hour went up against the much weaker and short-lived Love On A Rooftop, gaining about 2.50 share points.
__________________
* * *
“The absence of limitations is the enemy of art.”
― Orson Welles

Last edited by Maurice; January 13 2014 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Clarified some data
Maurice is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 08:18 AM   #43
Harvey
Admiral
 
Harvey's Avatar
 
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Some last figures before I go to bed. Among the top 30 programs from the 1966-67 season, the lowest average rating was a 20.2 (Bonanza, the #1 program, had a 29.1 average rating).

Star Trek came in at a 18.46 average rating at the end of the season. It definitely wasn't among the top 30.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1966%E2...ision_schedule

The Mission: Impossible book says it finished the season "with a 29 share" (and at 51st place). That's almost the same number as Star Trek (a 29.39 share).

The book also points out that many thought M:I would be cancelled (as they did with Trek), but since it was a prestige production (as was Trek) and had the support of the higher-ups (as did Trek, i.e. Mort Werner at NBC) it was given a second season. Plus, Trek had the color TV boos with RCA.
__________________
"This begs explanation." - de Forest Research on Star Trek

My blog: Star Trek Fact Check.
Harvey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 08:20 AM   #44
Warped9
Admiral
 
Warped9's Avatar
 
Location: Brockville, Ontario, Canada
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

That isn't really surprising. Bewitched by it's very nature of being a generally well crafted show as well as being a comedy and having a very accessible concept should by all rights have a greater draw than a show like Star Trek.

As has been said we need context. And for that we would have to average out the figures for the shows Star Trek was competing against on the nights it aired. Then we'd have a clearer idea of its ranking.

It also would be nice if we could get hold of demographic information. Of course I don't know how detailed we want to get with this.
__________________
STAR TREK: 1964-1991
Warped9 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old January 13 2014, 08:43 AM   #45
CrazyMatt
Commander
 
CrazyMatt's Avatar
 
Location: Paradise
Re: Fact checking These Are The Voyages....

Christopher wrote: View Post
To an extent, perhaps, but the show wasn't in a strong position for renewal even aside from that. It was expensive to produce and struggled in the ratings, and it had its budget cut more and more each season. The network execs wanted to keep it, for the reasons I mentioned above, but they were losing money by doing so, and eventually it reached the point where they just couldn't afford not to cancel it.

Maybe if Roddenberry had stuck with the show and had a better relationship with the network, some kind of a deal could've been struck for a fourth season, but it probably would've had even fewer episodes and less budget per episode, even fewer guest stars and effects, and I have to wonder if they could've even managed to tell effective science fiction stories under those constraints.
Not sure about what a fourth season might have entailed, but your earlier points are well taken. GR's abrasive attitude towards NBC must have grated on them all the more because Star Trek wasn't a runaway hit by any measure, and was meanwhile expensive to produce. If GR had taken a more cooperative tact with NBC, trying to work with them, then they may have cut him more slack. But as Cushman's book points out, there was already a history of friction between him and NBC on "The Lieutenant," enough friction to get that show cancelled prematurely.

I think Solow's departure, as well as the shifting of the series to a cost-conscious Paramount, meant the 'emperor (GR) was now naked,' so to speak. Along with those factors, NBC must have surmised that the second "Save Star Trek" campaign originated in GR's office.

It's no wonder that Star Trek ended up on Friday nights at 10:00 for the third season. NBC wanted it dead as they were tired of GR's shenanigans. The only mystery is how it could have been originally slated for the Monday time slot that eventually went to Laugh-In. I personally think this was a case of intentional deception on NBC's part... and that they must have particularly enjoyed pulling the rug out from under him.

I also wonder about the "Batman Syndrome." Batman, as many of you know, was a runaway hit for ABC for two seasons. But by the end of the second season, the ratings began a serious slide as the novelty wore off. By the third season, the show was roaring towards cancellation despite all efforts by the producers to save it, including eliminating the cliff-hangers and bringing in Yvonne Craig as Batgirl. But once the magic was gone, it's end was inevitable.

I often wonder if the novelty wore off to a certain extent with Star Trek's audience as well. I don't think so, but I'm not really sure. But maybe NBC was thinking about Star Trek in this context as well...
__________________
"You are speaking to a senior officer, Kirk!"
CrazyMatt is online now   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 05:18 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.