Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Regular Series

Here are some images of Polar Lights 1/1000 scale U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701 from Star Trek TOS the regular series.
From Wikipedia "

Star Trek is a science fiction television series, created by Gene Roddenberry, that was telecast in the United States of America and southern Canada by NBC-TV from September 8, 1966, through June 3, 1969.

Although this TV series had the title of Star Trek, it has acquired the retronym of Star Trek: The Original Series to distinguish it from the numerous sequels that have followed it, and also from the fictional universe that it created. Its time setting is roughly the 23rd century. The original Star Trek series follows the adventures of the starship Enterprise and its crew, led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), first officer Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and chief medical officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). William Shatner's voice-over introduction during each episode's opening credits stated the starship's purpose:

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

When Star Trek premiered on NBC-TV in 1966, it was not an immediate hit. Initially, its Nielsen ratings were low, and its advertising revenue was modest. Before the end of the first season of Star Trek, some executives at NBC wanted to cancel the series because of its low ratings. The chief of the Desilu Productions company, Lucille Ball, reportedly "single-handedly kept Star Trek from being dumped from the NBC-TV lineup."

Toward the end of the second season, Star Trek was again in danger of cancellation. The lobbying by its fans gained it a third season, but NBC also moved its broadcast time to the Friday night "death slot", at 10 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (9:00 p.m. Central Time). Star Trek was cancelled at the end of the third season, after 79 episodes were produced. However, this was enough for the show to be "stripped" in TV syndication, allowing it to become extremely popular and gather a large cult following during the 1970s. The success of the program was followed by five additional television series and eleven theatrical films. The Guinness World Records lists the original Star Trek as having the largest number of spin-offs among all TV series in history.

The first regular episode of Star Trek aired on Thursday, September 8, 1966 from 8:30-9:30 as part of an NBC "sneak preview" block. Debuting against mostly reruns, it easily won its time slot with a 40.6 share. The following week against all-new programming, however, it fell to second (29.4 share) behind CBS. It ranked 33rd (out of 94 programs) over the next two weeks, before the following two episodes tumbled all the way to 51st in the ratings.

The threat of cancellation loomed, as Star Trek had an average ratings position of 52nd during the entire first season. But it was still outperforming most new shows, ranking higher than all but eight other new programs in 1966-67. NBC finally ordered a second season in March, 1967. It was originally announced that the show would fill a 7:30-8:30 PM Tuesday time slot, but it was instead given an 8:30-9:30 PM Friday slot when the 1967-68 NBC schedule was released.

Rumors of cancellation surfaced again during the show's second season. Star Trek was ranking ahead of ABC's Hondo, but was getting trounced by CBS programs (Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. and the first half-hour of the CBS Friday Night Movie). When it became apparent that a third season was in jeopardy, the show's devoted fanbase conducted a letter-writing campaign, petitioning NBC to keep Star Trek on next year's schedule. Star Trek was saved by the unprecedented write-in campaign to NBC, spearheaded by a collection of fans, notably Bjo Trimble, who succeeded in getting tens of thousands of viewers to write letters of support to save the program. These letters were written in such a way that workers at NBC, not at a fan service, had to open them all, and this seriously challenged NBC's mail department. According to the Hartford Courant, the network received close to 115,000 letters between December, 1967 and March, 1968, including over 52,000 in February alone.

NBC actually made a televised announcement after a March, 1968 episode of Star Trek, stating that the series had been renewed and to please stop writing to them. This prompted letters of thanks in similar numbers. According to Dorothy C. Fontana, this was followed immediately by Lyndon B. Johnson's televised announcement that he would not seek, and would not accept, the nomination of his political party for another term as the President of the United States.

While NBC paid lip service to expanding Star Trek's audience, it [now] slashed our production budget until it was actually ten percent lower than it had been in our first season....This is why in the third season you saw fewer outdoor location shots, for example. Top writers, top guest stars, top anything you needed was harder to come by. Thus, Star Trek's demise became a self-fulfilling prophecy. And I can assure you, that is exactly as it was meant to be.

—Nichelle Nichols, Beyond Uhura, p.189

Although the program was renewed, it was also placed into the 10:00 PM Friday night death slot, an hour undesirable for its audience, which usually consisted of younger people who would be out and about on Friday evenings. NBC had originally announced that the show would be moving to Mondays for the third season, but eventually chose not to do so, so as not to conflict with the highly successful Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In on Monday evenings. In addition to the dismal time slot, Star Trek was now being seen on only 181 of NBC's 210 affiliates.

Roddenberry attempted to persuade NBC to give Star Trek a better day and hour, but he was not successful. As a result of this, he chose to withdraw from the stress of the daily production of Star Trek, though he remained nominally in charge as its "executive producer." Roddenberry reduced his direct involvement in Star Trek before the start of the 1968-69 TV season, and was replaced by Fred Freiberger as the producer of the TV series. NBC next reduced Star Trek's budget by a significant amount per episode, as the per-minute commercial price had dropped from $39,000 to $36,000 compared to the Season 2 time slot. This caused a marked decline in the quality of many episodes for the 1968-69 season.Nichelle Nichols has described these budget cuts as an intentional effort to kill off Star Trek.

Star Trek was canceled at the end of its third season, despite the attempt of another letter-writing campaign. NBC's marketing staff later complained to senior management that this cancellation was premature, as new techniques for demographic profiling of the viewing audience showed that the audience for Star Trek, even in the 10 PM Friday time slot, was a highly desirable one for certain advertisers.


Spacerguy said...

She's a real beauty to be sure, I've gone to town building my USS Enterprise 1701 and lets just say she was a pure labor of love.

Spacerguy's Model USS Enterprise 1701

Warren Zoell said...

Looks great Spacer guy!