They definitely cared what viewers wanted. And we saw that, but it wasn't the driving force in the show. More than anything it was the basic Trek concept of a starship out on the final frontier, encountering new life-forms and new civilizations. The initial Maquis conflict, being stuck in a distant part of the Galaxy, and even the idea of a female captain were among a number of different twists to distinguish it from previous shows. But as I said in an earlier post, the Maquis thing really was something that couldn't be sustained long anyway unless the Voyager was a Maquis ship rather than a Starfleet one. Even so, without the Cardassians to fight in the DMZ (their reason for being), they'd just be rebels without a cause in the Delta Quadrant.