Letter of Note: Gene Roddenberry Defends Star Trek “The Cage” Pilot | TrekMovie.com
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Letter of Note: Gene Roddenberry Defends Star Trek “The Cage” Pilot November 30, 2010

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: TOS,Trek Franchise , trackback

In 1965 Gene Roddenberry had submitted his Star Trek pilot "The Cage" to NBC, but the network was having some issues with it. This prompted Roddenberry to write a lengthy defense of Star Trek to his agent to make his position clear as they negotiated to get Star Trek on the air. That letter has surfaced online, read Gene’s defense of Trek below.

 

 

Roddenberry defends “The Cage”

The website Letters of Note has posted original images of Gene Roddenberry’s letter to his agent Alden Schwimmer, where Roddenberry outlines his defense of "The Cage" and how he feels strongly about any kind of changes to the show show (like adding a cute kid or a dog), saying "compromising with this kind of thinking could only lead to us making a bad show out of what could have been good." Of course in the end NBC did reject "The Cage" but gave Roddenberry a second chance with the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before." And the rest is history.

Here is full transcript
 

Desilu Productions Inc.

February 12, 1965

Mr. Alden Schwimmer
Ashley-Famous Agency
9255 Sunset Boulevard
Los Angeles 69, California

Dear Alden:

Have just talked to Oscar Katz in New York about present indefinite sales status of STAR TREK. I felt that all sides had been heard from but me and I owed it to Oscar that he understand my feelings clearly. And of course I want you to be in on any such conversation, so therefore am repeating it here in this letter and sending a copy to Ted in NYC.

First, about the STAR TREK pilot itself. Whether or not this was the right story for a sale, it was definitely a right one for ironing out successfully a thousand how, when and whats of television science fiction. It did that job superbly and has us firmly in position to be the first who has ever successfully made TV series science fiction a mass audience level and yet with a chance for quality and network prestige too.

We have an opportunity, like "Gulliver’s Travels" of a century or more ago, to combine spectable-excitement for a mass group along with meaningful drama and something of substance and pride.

This particular story, whatever its other merits, was an ideal vehicle for proving this point to ourselves. And if the network wants to be partners in such ventures as these, they have to share some of the pain, responsibility and risk of this type of planning. Or they can have copies of other shows, or parallels, breaking no new ground, without any pain or risk at all. I’m quite willing, and I think capable, of giving it to them either way. In a sense, this has been sort of a test for me whether any brave statements I’ve heard are true.

Now, about the length of the pilot, etc. I agree it should be shorter and should be paced differently. It’s my fault that it wasn’t since I let myself be swayed by an arbitrary delivery date and did not take a day off and then look freshly at the whole picture before it went to negative cutting. This will not happen again. In future, of the two risks, I will risk violating contract provisions rather than sending out product readied only through weeks of sixteen hour a day fatigue. Where the agency can help here is early in the planning of a pilot, leaning hard on the network in those primary stages where they waste three, four and five weeks getting back to you with approvals on this and that. This plays a very large part in ending up with production dates which are bound to create problems.

Let me say about the foregoing, I was under no undue pressure from either Katz or Solow. Unlike most studio executives, they stayed off my back, contented themselves with merely pointing out the obvious contract delivery dates. Solow, whom I worked with most directly and intimately, was enormously helpful. One of the most pleasant and talented men I have ever had the pleasure to work with in this business.

Now, summarizing attitude on the pilot, I think even as it now stands, certainly with many things I’d still like to do with it, it is a good quality product.

For those at NBC who honestly do not like it, do not understand or dig it, do not believe it has audience potential, no complaints from me if they turn thumbs down. I have learned to applaud people who make decisions. But I have no respect or tolerance for those who say things like "If it were just a couple minutes shorter…", or "Yes, but if it were not so cerebral…", and such garbage. And I respectfully suggest to you as sale representatives for this product that tolerating or compromising with this kind of thinking could only lead to us making a bad show out of what could have been good. In other words, am wide open to criticism and suggestions but not from those who think answers lie in things like giving somewhat aboard a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew.

I’m not saying anyone has suggested the above. Or that you would stand still for it. But having been around television for some time, I do know that shows sometimes reach frantic sales moments in which things like that have been known to happen. And it’s only fair to let you know I’m not that anxious to sell the show.

Which, I guess, is my central point. There seems to be a popular delusion that networks do people a favor by buying shows. I happen to think the truth is somewhat nearer the other direction — that a man who creates a format and offers integrity and a large hunk of his life in producing it, offers much more than networks or advertisers can give in return. Therefore, it logically follows, that side has a right to some terms too.

Mine have not changed. And no matter how difficult or tenuous any negotiation for sale may become, they will not change.

a. We must have an adequate budget to do a show of this type.

b. We must have a time slot which gives us a chance, otherwise the labor involved is foolish and meaningless.

c. Network must give early notification that they are buying the show, or at minimum an early story order so scripts can be put into work.

d. Network must agree that any notifications of pickup or cancellation must be made early, or additional story orders must be made early enough to permit proper continuation of schedules.

Without the above, a sale would be completely meaningless for me. Have no desire to risk heart attack or ulcers without at least a fighting chance to make entertainment I can be proud of. If terms should turn out different, I will cooperate with all involved to find a producer who feels otherwise.

Incidentally, I’ve told both Oscar and Herb Solow I’ve had it with the audience testing thing. The fact that there was this enormous twenty point different between the two STAR TREK tests so far certainly must indicate to any sensible man these people are capable of gross error. And since they are obviously capable of this, I insist that this final test be run in number one position so it is at least a fair comparison with the last test. And no amount of statistical rationalization will budge me from this position. It’s make or break with me, Alden. If they are going to use these tests (and we both know they give great weight to them despite anything they say), then they’ve got to at least give us the benefit of an even chance.

Although I’ve been nervous about STAR TREK for this couple of weeks of decision, actually it’s been a good thing for me. Like a fever reaching a crisis point and then breaking. For the first time I think I see our particular and peculiar medium exactly for what it is. It has been and can be very good — and if someone proves to me they want me to try for that level, I gladly will. On the other hand, without that proof, I intend to aim for safe copies and parallels of existing successes — settle for doing it just two or three percent better than the next guy so that job and profits are always there, and I eat dinner every night at 6:00 p.m. with the children and have two days at home out of every seven to play horseshoes and putter in the garden. And do everything possible to move on into another medium.

Sorry, didn’t mean to make this an epic poem. Maybe it’s just catharsis. But I think it’s more.

Sincerely,

(Signed, ‘Gene R’)

Gene Roddenberry

dcf

cc: T. Ashley-New York

 

Comments

1. Ensign Kirk - November 30, 2010

That was epic

2. Bob - November 30, 2010

Just goes to show you that the bottom line for most television execs is money. Why try something new and different when you can fall back on a formula? Bravo to Gene for having the courage to stand up for his ideas. Hopefully more people in Hollywood will take notice and start doing this. Maybe even going as far as putting their ideas on line first to gather support for a sale to a larger distributer. (Like the person for Uruguay did with his SciFi short that landed him a multi-million dollar movie deal.) Maybe then we’ll see original ideas instead of the next Spiderman remake, and so on, and so on…

3. Future Guy - November 30, 2010

It’s a good thing there never was a Star Trek series that had a precocious kid flying the ship or gave someone on board a dog.

4. Chris - November 30, 2010

It is just sad that Gene had so much problems with the studios from day one, but yet the studios have made millions off of Gene’s dream.

And after they cancelled the show after cutting budgets, and moving it to a dead spot on the weekly schedule, then they bring it back and still tied their hands with the movies.

5. jjtwo - November 30, 2010

LOL Wesley and Porthos

6. Vultan - November 30, 2010

#3

“It’s a good thing there never was a Star Trek series that had a precocious kid flying the ship or gave someone on board a dog.”

Or a short alien sidekick. Or a car going over a cliff.
Nah. Never gonna happen.

7. CarlG - November 30, 2010

Wow. Really makes you appreciate that we have Star Trek at all, let alone how it’s flourishing almost half a century later. Hats off to GR.

8. Vultan - November 30, 2010

“And if the network wants to be partners in such ventures as these, they have to share some of the pain, responsibility and risk of this type of planning. Or they can have copies of other shows, or parallels, breaking no new ground, without any pain or risk at all.”

This needs to be written in twenty-foot letters and placed under the Hollywood sign.

9. Thomas Jensen - November 30, 2010

a. We must have an adequate budget to do a show of this type.

b. We must have a time slot which gives us a chance, otherwise the labor involved is foolish and meaningless.

And in the third season it came to pass that the time slot was terrible and the budget was cut. So Mr. Roddenberry pulled back from actively producing the show. It’s very interesting that from the beginning he articulated his position about this.

10. "Check the Circuit!" - November 30, 2010

So now we know why Will Robinson…oops, sorry….Wesley Crusher was part of TNG.

11. "Check the Circuit!" - November 30, 2010

Actually, his POV is appicable to industies beyond television. As I read his comments, I couldn’t help but to project them into the corporate enviroment I’m in. Senior Management seems to want the same thing from “the minions.” No risk. Big profits. Same old, same old.

I feel reinvigorated for the next time I have to go fight the good fight to push a new idea forward.

12. RobertZ - November 30, 2010

Wow. LOVE IT! Thanks for posting this.

13. Losira - November 30, 2010

Well it explains a lot. And also an insight of Gene himself. I realy found enlightening. I admire his commitment to his convictions. He won. In bigger ways then he imagined!

14. rm10019 - November 30, 2010

I need this whole letter on a t-shirt :) GR for the WIN!

15. Thomas - November 30, 2010

“…they can have copies of other shows, or parallels, breaking no new ground, without any pain or risk at all.”

I was struck by the unwitting irony of this statement, since it could be said that this happened to Star Trek. Perhaps the key difference is that, unlike other shows, Trek turned into a decidedly un-risky copy of itself.

16. SonOfMohg - November 30, 2010

“…..am wide open to criticism and suggestions but not from those who think answers lie in things like giving somewhat aboard a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew.”

WOW, sounds like Gene was prescient!

Sounds like Archer’s Porthos and Wesley!

17. VZX - November 30, 2010

Sooooo, if Gene was against kids and animals, then why Wesley and Spot the cat?

But, I agree with # 1 and 2 about Gene’s ability to stand up to the suits and fight for originality. Unfortunately, fresh, new stories are a rarity now-a-days. Big movies won’t get made unles they have marketability and a built-in audience. Even James Cameron said that he purposely made Avater with a familiar story since the visuals were so out there. Bummer.

We need more Gene Roddenberrys.

18. njdss4 - November 30, 2010

@ #5:

“am wide open to criticism and suggestions but not from those who think answers lie in things like giving somewhat aboard a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew. ”

Exactly! Wesley and Porthos. HA! Wesley was getting hate before his character was even born!

19. Reign1701A - November 30, 2010

Cmon, Porthos was alright! It wasn’t like the stupid robot dog from the original BSG.

20. I am not Herbert - November 30, 2010

YES!!! Gene’s Star Trek is my Star Trek!! =)

…quality TV series SCIENCE FICTION for a mass audience…

…with meaningful drama and something of substance and pride…

…not fake “sci-fi fantasy” pandering to adolescent mindlessness…

21. John from Cincinnati - November 30, 2010

Ha ha Wesley Crusher!

22. Capt Mike of the Terran Empire - November 30, 2010

This letter is so good that it can be used again for any new Creater of a new show to send to current producers of Current shows and the office. Thank you Gene for sticking in there and giving us all Star Trek.

23. gingerly - November 30, 2010

Much respect.

I’d like to think there are producers who write something like that today, in defense of their art. I’d like to think that bottom-line doesn’t matter that much more for the television landscape being a much more populated field of competition.

24. joe - November 30, 2010

Irwin Allen gave in to pressure from the network when he created Lost in Space and put a robot in there as well as Dr. Smith and look how that turned out. It became nothing more than the campy adventures of Will Robinson, Dr. Smith and Robot. The show could have been much better had he not given in. Thank goodness Gene Roddenberry didn’t give in like that and we got a great show because of it.

25. Dr. Cheis - November 30, 2010

You know, I didn’t actually make the connection between “giving somewhat aboard a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew” and Porthos and Wesley until reading the comments. I’d like to think that it’s because the presence of both characters added something to the depth of the characters they were related to rather than just a cute gimmick.

26. Cafe 5 - November 30, 2010

I met Gene at the El Cortez Hotel in 1976 and was only able to talk with him for five minutes….I was impressed with him to say the least…now years later I’m able to read a letter of this magnitude and I’m even more impressed with the man and glad I was able to speak with him for even so brief a period of time. I’ll cherish this memory even more now.

27. CmdrR - November 30, 2010

I think Gene may have believed his own universe… that is, the triumph of logic over base human motivations, such as greed. We’re lucky Star Trek survived.

28. captain_neill - November 30, 2010

I have a lot of respect for Gene Roddenberry. He created the greatest sci fi ever.

I also like how he stood up against the networks. If the networks had compromised then the show we know and love would never have happened.

29. CommanderJacobs - November 30, 2010

Some of the commentary almost seems like this letter is a hoax, but leaning towards its legitimacy, lets talk about Wesley, Spot and Porthos…
TNG era Star Trek has families on board, so the inevitible ‘smart kid’ is going to be on board somewhere.
Data – an android (recurrent in ST lore (no pun intended)), wants to be more human and ‘feels’ adopting a pet will help him to understand aspects of companionship.
Porthos – WHY are we coming down on the dog? Didn’t Kruge have a pet onboard? Klingons dont have a monopoly on ship-based pets, do they? I think a lot of the captains have had their ecentricitys, Picard – riding horses, Sisko – baseball, Janeway – romance novels, Kirk – women.
So, all that said – a little variation is good – and if we want more STAR TREK, we have to settle for some parallels, or it isn’t STAR TREK.

30. Jonathan - November 30, 2010

“In other words, am wide open to criticism and suggestions but not from those who think answers lie in things like giving somewhat aboard a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew.”

Lol, Gene predicted Battlestar Galactica.

31. Captain Dunsel - November 30, 2010

Fighting to put out a quality product is great. But Gene Roddenberry had something else – The ability to DELIVER a quality product. And part of that came from the very act of his fighting against the networks and their pressure to “play it safe”. It made him *think* about his risks, and really justify them, as he does in this letter.

If you want to see Roddenberry turn out a BAD product, go look at “Genesis II”. It was a great concept, for which he had pretty much free rein, and frankly it stunk. He once again had to fight for what he wanted in making “The Questor Tapes”, and once again it was a great product. Unfortunately the network got obstinate after the pilot, and he wisely walked away.

Bottom line: Gene Roddenberry needed the networks to fight against every bit as much as Kirk needed the Klingons. Only great Villains make great Heroes.

32. Dennis Bailey - November 30, 2010

For a more realistic look at how TOS was produced, the attitudes of the networks and studios, etc, one should read “Inside Star Trek” by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman. They de-mythologize a lot of this stuff.

33. MorbidGorn - November 30, 2010

Mad respect for the Great Bird!

34. CommanderJacobs - November 30, 2010

An 11-year old boy AND a dog, Star Trek would have been Lassie in Space! Maybe a robotic dog?

35. Michael Hall - November 30, 2010

“For a more realistic look at how TOS was produced, the attitudes of the networks and studios, etc, one should read “Inside Star Trek” by Herbert F. Solow and Robert H. Justman. They de-mythologize a lot of this stuff.”

So, the reflections of two individuals going on four decades after the fact are to be deemed of more interest and representative of what “actually happened” than the correspondence of the show’s creator written at the time? You have interesting notions of what constitutes mythology and realism, Mr. Bailey.

36. Anthony Thompson - November 30, 2010

A very enlightening letter. The events which transpired between the pilots has always been rather hazy. This adds some important information. And it really adds to my repect for GR!

37. Basement Blogger - November 30, 2010

Yes as the Great Bird of the Galaxy notes at the end of the letter, it was a little epic. And you think my posts are long. But what words Gene speaks with!

” It did that job superbly and has us firmly in position to be the first who has ever successfully made TV series science fiction a mass audience level and yet with a chance for quality and network prestige too.”

“We have an opportunity, like “Gulliver’s Travels” of a century or more ago, to combine spectable-excitement for a mass group along with meaningful drama and something of substance and pride.”

I hope the Bad Robot Supreme Court gets a copy of this letter. They dedicated the 2009 movie to Gene. Then honor him. Gene sought a mass audience AND MEANINGFUL QUALITY DRAMA WITH SUBSTANCE AND PRIDE.”

Don’t look to Star Wars for inspiration. Look to Gene Roddenberry.

38. Chadwick - November 30, 2010

My god, to a trek fan this gold, a lost treasure map, something wonderful. I am so happy and grateful this was released. 45 years later, if only Gene knew…..but he did, he did.

39. The Original Spock's Brain - November 30, 2010

“a dog, or adding a cute eleven-year-old boy to the crew.”

The original Battlestar Galactica’s robot daggit and his boy, Boxey: annoying even to me as a kid.

40. Cygnus-X1 - November 30, 2010

Fascinating.

41. TrekMadeMeWonder - November 30, 2010

Gene is certainly an ever present (and relevant) Blogger here, huh?

As others have noted, A BOY AND A DOG??!!! LOL!!!!

42. MJ - November 30, 2010

This is awesome. This also helps this case against some of these recent “revisionists” of Gene’s legacy (some who have posted on this site in the past) who continually take unjustified pot shots at the guy.

43. Digginjim - December 1, 2010

That is a brilliant and clearly thought out letter….

Wesley and Porthos indeed!

‘combine spectacle/excitement for a mass group along with meaningful drama and something of substance and pride.’

That just about sums up the best of Star Trek for me…

44. Toonloon - December 1, 2010

Fascinating. How nice to hear the Great Bird speak one last time. I’ve read a lot of his memos and letters included in the “Creator” biography, and Gene was superbly skilled in letter writing. Bob Justman said as much in “Inside Star Trek”. I was particularly thrilled to read this..

“Solow, whom I worked with most directly and intimately, was enormously helpful. One of the most pleasant and talented men I have ever had the pleasure to work with in this business. ”

This, to me, legitimises further every single word that Mssrs Solow & Justman wrote in their book.

45. chrisfawkes.com - December 1, 2010

Did he say “spectable-excitement” man didn’t he know trek fans would one day equate that with being too star wars and not in keeping with their mythical understanding of Gene Rodenberries original vision?

46. chrisfawkes.com - December 1, 2010

then they went and put Wesely Crusher in the show.

47. Jorg Sacul - December 1, 2010

Great letter… and don’t dis Porthos!

48. Sebastian - December 1, 2010

Cute kid and dog, coming up!
Wesley, Porthos as well as a cat named Spot. It seems the powers that be had to sneak in a cat as well (ironic too, since I’ve read that Brent Spiner himself is not a cat person).

Maybe it was a sign that the show was so established that the powers that be felt they could add these elements without disrupting what made the franchise so enduring. I really don’t think that a dog or a cat add much to ratings these days. There’s Animal Planet channel for all of that.

Personally, I never thought that Spot or Porthos much mattered in the greater context of the show either, but Wesley was necessary (if even as a token kid) to illustrate the often forgotten TNG concept of families living aboard the ship (another choice I was never too keen on, but it did make a certain amount of sense nevertheless).

49. Nomad - December 1, 2010

Inspiring. And nothing changes…
“if the network wants to be partners in such ventures as these, they have to share some of the pain, responsibility and risk of this type of planning. Or they can have copies of other shows, or parallels, breaking no new ground, without any pain or risk at all.”
Working in animation in the UK, I’d like to quote this to any and all network execs who commission kids’ tv shows….or any TV at all really.

50. Howard Beale Lives - December 1, 2010

Note the reference initials at the bottom…”dcf”. Since we all know she was his personal secretary before becoming a staff writer, do you think DC Fontana might have spiced this note up just a bit? :)

51. weyoun_9 - December 1, 2010

Gene was not saying that having a kid or a dog on a show, Trek or otherwise, is a bad thing…he was saying he wouldn’t compromise with a network that would add elements to a show to pander to audiences without taking into consideration the goal of the show.

Wesley may have been irritating at times, but he was written by Roddenberry for a purpose and not slapped in to increase the audience base.

I thought Spot was a brilliant addition for Data…attempting to be more human by having a pet and seeing him interact with Spot in a very mechanical way was great.

Porthos…a little bit of a stretch, but I think the intention was to give Archer a more “every-man” feel.

Now…adding Alexander and Naomi…I can’t help you with those. :)

52. RGClay - December 1, 2010

And did you notice the initials at the end of the letter? It denotes the secretary who typed Gene’s letter?
“dcf”- Dorothy C. Fontana! She really moved on up from there!

53. denny cranium - December 1, 2010

C’mon- I liked Porthos
One of Trip Tucker”s greatest lines was “Where No Dog Has Gone Before”
after Porthos bounded out of the shuttle to mark his territory.
Gotta love a guy who brings his dog to work.
Its interesting to see how Star Trek barely got on the air and then barely stayed there.
I’m just reading inside Trek and am interested in reading about “debunking the myths”
As an artist, writer, actor (I’m a writer) it must be incredibly difficult to keep your artistic integrity while trying to get your show “bought” and funded by the network.
As far as Roddenberry not caring if Star Trek got sold as he stated in his letter? I don’t think so- I think he cared a great deal.
At the point he wrote this letter I think he was just fed up with the process.

54. denny cranium - December 1, 2010

Great to see a piece of Trek history here though.
Thanks

55. Ashsprout - December 1, 2010

Wow that was beautiful. Gene Roddenberry was so so smart. I love how you can see some of the themes from the show in his defense of it, like using logic. He definitely was able to make the show better because of the opposition.Thank God for all the things that came together to make Star Trek so wonderful.

56. CommanderJacobs - December 1, 2010

It is amazing to me there was any continuity at all to TOS, with all the writers, with their own ideas and with some of them blissfully ignorant, or ignoring what was written in previous episodes (kind of hard to do with scripts being written weeks before airing). One of our great writers, Harlan Elison probly never watched an episode before he wrote City on the Edge of Forever… Oh well, they fixed it (much to his chagrin) or Scotty would have spent the remainder of the 5 year mission in the brig. I love the fact that they killed off a red shirt and the next week he was back on set. Thats Hollywood for you!

57. BrF - December 1, 2010

Hats off to Gene Rodenberry. Great letter.

58. Gene L.Coon was a U.S.Marine. Stand at ease. - December 1, 2010

Here is an interesting interview with Gene:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1fpb6_gene-roddenberry-interview_fun

He talks about the two pilots, TNG, and the frustrations of a writer at the hands of junior executives. Great stuff.

Classic quote:

“We have things to be proud of as humans…ancient astronauts did NOT build the pyramids. Human beings built them, because they are clever, and they work hard! And StarTrek is about those things.”

59. Chris M - December 2, 2010

Wow that is so cool, you can really see the passion Gene Roddenberry had for Star Trek right from the start.

60. Jack - December 2, 2010

31. Wisest post in the discussion, I think.

To me that kind of explains, or at least parallels, the supposed even/odd movie curse a little (and the first couple seasons of TNG) even though, yes, i know, Roddenberry wasn’t really involved past tmp – but generally, when they were riding high and could do no wrong (tmp coming after trek had transformed from short-lived tv show in to syndicated phenom), the results tended to be self-indulgent.

And Roddenberry’s disdain toward network suits not caring about anything beyond ratings and advertising revenue (and meddling to maximize those) is pretty darned common in television, then and now. The man definitely portrayed himself as a great maverick and fighter for his art — but this is the same guy who had them put the IDIC medal into a script because he was planning to sell them.

61. TJR - December 5, 2010

“There seems to be a popular delusion that networks do people a favor by buying shows. I happen to think the truth is somewhat nearer the other direction — that a man who creates a format and offers integrity and a large hunk of his life in producing it, offers much more than networks or advertisers can give in return. Therefore, it logically follows, that side has a right to some terms too”. ……What a radical concept this was back in the 60′s! We are only just starting to realize this now.

As for the Dog and cute kid comment: Roddenberry was referring to Lost in Space: Will Robinson and The Robot (who stood in for the dog).

By the time Enterprise was on the air, doing something as simple as having the Captain have a dog on board was a radical departure from previous Trek. And the situations with the dog where all well done. It never seemed like pandering to specific audience.

Early on it seemed like Wesley was saving the ship on just about every episode of the first season and so, yeah that did get old quick. After that the writers got a better handle on the character. Of course the whole first season is very half and half to say the least. The Wesley Crusher character was not the only problem with the first season.

62. nx-2000 - December 5, 2010

And don’t forget, “Lost in Space” played a major role in the “death” of TOS. Gene Roddenberry had been fighting to get TOS a better time slot, but Irwin Allen refused to move the time slot of “Lost in Space.” This was partially responsible for TOS getting shunted to the “Friday Night Death Slot.” I don’t have any right to feel any ill will toward Irwin Allen, but what happened, happened.

63. Boogybum - December 6, 2010

To all you know it alls who keep saying that star trek was more about action than intelligent, philosophical story telling. Heed this and hush up.

‘But I have no respect or tolerance for those who say things like “If it were just a couple minutes shorter…”, or “Yes, but if it were not so cerebral…”, and such garbage.’

64. Donald Gillikin - December 15, 2010

Re: #62 nx-2000: The timeslot of “Lost in Space” had nothing to do with TOS being shunted to the Friday Night Death Slot. LiS aired on CBS, while TOS aired on NBC. LiS aired on Wednesday Nights on CBS from 7:30-8:30 pm opposite the first hour of NBC’s “The Virginian” for the entirety of LiS’s run. LiS went off the air just as Trek’s third season began airing.

The way the story goes is that TOS for its third season had been promised an early evening timeslot on Monday nights. Most accounts say Mondays from 7:30 – 8:30 pm, but looking at the way NBC programed Mondays for a few years on either side of Autumn, 1968, Mondays from 8:00-9:00 pm looks much more likely.

From September 1967 – January 15, 1968, NBC aired “The Man from UNCLE” in the Monday 8:00-9:00 pm timeslot. Also, in September 1967, TOS in its second season inherited what had been UNCLE’s timeslot the previous season.

On January 22, 1968, “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” replaced the canceled “Man from UNCLE” and was a breakout hit . It kept the Monday 8:00-9:00 pm timeslot until it left the air on May 14, 1973.

NBC was unlikely to replace a hit show in that Monday timeslot with the struggling STAR TREK, no matter what assurances NBC had given Roddenberry some months previously.

This time, TOS inherited the Friday 10:00 pm timeslot UNCLE had held from September 1965-September 1966.

Irwin Allen is thus blameless for the death of TOS. If you want to blame anyone, blame George Schlatter or Dan Rowan and Dick Martin for having a hit show, or even Richard Nixon for appearing on it (“Sock it to ME?” I’ll Spock it to you, all right, Tricky Dick. :-)).

65. elite force - December 24, 2010

makes you wonder if he had to put in Wesley to make TNG happen

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