TNG Headed Back To Broadcast Syndication

Star Trek The Next Generation is heading back to where it all began. Today CBS announced they have sold reruns of Next Generation for broadcast syndication in most of the country for the Fall 2009 season. Although TNG is currently in reruns on cable, it has not been available for broadcast syndication in eight years.


TNG back on regular TV
Starting in the Fall of 1987, Star Trek The Next Generation became a pioneer by becoming a hit hour-long drama broadcast in syndication instead of on a regular broadcast network. The premiere "Encounter at Farpoint" pulled in an historic 27 million viewers on September 28th, 1987. TNG went on to win 18 Emmys and was the first ever syndicated series to be nominated for Outstanding Drama Series.

Now in 2009 TNG returns to its old stomping ground. In a statement, President of Sales for CBS Television Distribution said:

Star Trek The Next Generation was a groundbreaking show when it first premiered in syndication and was the highest-rated series in the STAR TREK franchise. It also has an extremely successful track record in cable so stations are excited to add this proven brand to their lineups.

Unlike the remastered Star Trek The Original Series, which airs weekly in syndication currently, TNG is in ‘strip syndication,’ meaning there will be five episodes per week. CBS has not released a list of stations beyond saying TNG is currently cleared in 83% of the country, including 29 of the top 30 markets and that Tribune, Sinclair, CBS and LIN stations are among those signing up. A spokesperson for CBS also confirmed that this package will be for the original show in standard definition, and not a new ‘remastered’ version of the show.

The broadcast syndication run of Star Trek The Next Generation starts in the Fall of 2009. TNG continues to air on SciFi and WGN America just added the show to it schedule as well (see TrekMovie story).

TNG back then
If you want to feel nostalgic, take a look at these behind the scenes promo for TNG from Entertainment Tonight, aired February 1987.

And here is a 1987 promotional trailer for the show



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say it ain’t so!

Wooo. Too bad I have all the DVDs anyway. At least the DVDs aren’t chopped up, and have huge logos filling most of the screen.

I’ve also got the DVD set. And TNG’s on TV often enough. Let me know when they start making a remastered version.

Please, please, please CBS, put it up ON DEMAND on the CBS website! Yes, I’ll watch the shows with commercials.

I just watched Encounter at Farpoint on WGN tonight. First time I had seen it in years. Some nice memories.

Bring on TNG-R!

This is excellent news. It’s about time TNG gets some recongnition in a time when TOS is on everybody’s minds.

2 and 3, I also have TNG on DVD. Which seems natural since it’s my favorite Trek show.

6, I don’t think that TNG needs to be remastered for the most part. Sure some of the space shots, especially from the first couple of season, could use it but overall I think that it doesn’t need it.

Last year I worked through all of Enterprise, TOS, the TOS movies, and TNG. I’m starting on DS9 this year in preparation for the movie. It’s been fun.

well heres my two cents worth on tng

it was really only great for two seasons..those being seasons threee and four. the rest were very spotty…but the strange thing is that season 4 eps, were really sequels or follow up episodes to season 3…so all in all. it really only had one great season

i knew season 5 was in trouble when it opened with darmok…i know some of u guys think its classic…but my god that is a bad ep

People are so hard on TNG, and give free passes to DS9 and Voyager. TNG was awesome in its run. It brought Star Trek back to mainstream TV, and every season had some of the best Trek out there.

darmok is sacred. Don’t touch it dude.



Sean Christopher..sorry man….

i touched it… smelled it….. saw it…… and heard it…..thank god i didnt taste it….cause darmok is a piece of shit

Darmok sucked? Voyager fan, eh?

i grew up with TOS as a kid (born in 82), and actually enjoyed the movies more…i had 2-4 memorized. when TNG came out i was excited but didnt watch it weekly til season 3….i think it has more quality episodes than TOS b/c they ran 2.33333x longer and per capita i say its still got a better batting average than TOS, but TOS and TNG highs are equal.

i heard it will be difficult for them to remaster TNG like they did TOS b/c TNG was shot and recorded on video and TOS was shot on film and there is a resolution/frams per sec difference which causes problems in remastering

this is me on my soapbox acting like i know what i m talking about alla anchorman: ‘its called san diego, which of course in spanish means……’

15, TNG was shot on film and edited on video. FX were created in ~SD resolution. For a remaster to occur, the film would have to be rescanned in HD, re-edited, and HD FX created from scratch. That would be a daunting task for any FX house to handle.

@16 – Sean4000

I was just about to say that ;-)

Yeah, not sure whether TNG-R will ever actually happen. I have them all on DVD, but when I watch them, the FX aren’t actually that bad, considering they’re ~20 years old!

Of course, it’d be cool to see TNG-R, but it’s the amount of time (and money) that Paramount would have to put into it, and what are they going to get out of it? A few DVD/Blu-Ray box-set sales? I can’t see it happening.

And IMO, ‘Darmok’ was a wicked episode! One of my favourites! Proper sci-fi storyline – loved it! I always hated the ‘deus ex machina’ of the Universal Translator – ‘Darmok’ gave it a good, hard kick in the teeth, if only for one episode.

I wish everyone wouldnt be so pessimistic about TNG-R, At least they wouldnt have to re-film every single frame from scratch. and concidering how advanced todays visual effects are, I dont think it would be as difficult to do anyways, and yeah, some of the first season episodes could have been better but I think they were more interested in keeping faithful to TOS.

In season 2, the show grew up alot. :)

Great! Way to convince everyone that Star Trek’s a load of self-righteous 80s waffle! With luck they’ll see sense and pull the reruns before the end of season one! 80s TV Trek should be buried for the excruciating embarrassment to the Star Trek franchise that it is!

They’d be better off rerunning Voyager than this twaddle!

Roll on the new movie in May!


@19 – Dom

Bit difficult to justify slamming TNG so much when it was THE most successful Star Trek series – got better ratings than all of the others…

some episodes in the first two seasons (especially season 2) were shocking. I still cannot bear to put myself through ‘Shades of Gray’ – it makes my soul cry. And WHAT was Troi wearing – she looks like a cheerleader!

But the later series have had a massive impact – they have, to a certain extent, defined the way we look at sci-fi. If it wasn’t for TNG, there wouldn’t be any Babylon 5, Stargate, new BSG, etc.

TNG demonstrated that the sci-fi TV series was a good bet for TV studios. It led the way. Sure it’s flawed, but then again, so is every series of Trek (apart from DS9, which is PERFECT ;-))

Never get tired ofTNG. But they should really start at Season 3 lol.

ILM in 1987, what a magical place…

Yes, the syndication model was revolutionary! I remember watching S1 on Channel 29 in Buffalo before it was a FOX affiliate. It gave the show a lot of freedom to find its feet that it might not have had under the scrutiny of a network.

…and here I was trying to get through the week without being reminded of John Tesh :(

I have every trek on DVD (waiting for blu-ray) so this is not that important to me, besides anything broadcasted on cable looks terrible when compared to DVD quality. When I want to watch trek, ill pop a DVD on. But, I do occasionally watch it on TV.

I would hope that TNG gets remastered before going to blu-ray but I have a feeling it wont, so we will get all the shitty special effects in the first few seasons. Then in a couple years they will release the remastered TNG on blu-ray and we the so-called ignorant public will have to buy it again. Well I held out on until the war was over, never spent any money on HD DVD (thank god,) So I think I will hold out on the blu-ray as well. Same with the movies, I want the directors cut of every movie, I want all deleted scenes in the movie. I am not going to buy the Star Trek blu-ray movies twice. So far TOS on blu-ray is sadly the only trek on that format I am going to buy, the fact that The Motion Picture is not the directors cut is a huge pissoff. Yea like Paramount could not predict that HD would be out soon so maybe just maybe the new special effects should have been done in HD, which would be simple enough to scale down.


TNG deserved a lot of credit for rescuing TV TREK, and one can trim away the dreck, and come up with a boatload of solid eps and character arcs.

Unfortunately, it does not age as well as TOS, and they were stuck with ‘families in space’ far too long.

And it took way too long to hit its stride, and the behind-the-scenes bickering and firings did not help.

“Unfortunately, it does not age as well as TOS,”

That is right. TOS aged while TNG hasn’t really ;)

“And it took way too long to hit its stride,”

2-3 seasons?

“and the behind-the-scenes bickering and firings did not help.”

Maybe not behind the scenes, but in front of the camera and what the audience saw it was probably of no relevance as they wouldn’t have cared.

Wow how time warps by–22 years!

The first season was such a piece of poo, but much better as time went on.


Devon: From what I recall, there was almost a full housecleaning of creative personnel, including David Gerrold and Tracy Torme. Also, a writers’ strike in 1988 didn’t help.

And 2-3 seasons to hit stride today would just never happen. Luckily viewers stayed put for it.

As a hard-core TOS fan I have to admit that TNG was very, very good. It had some unforgettable touching moments and awesome episodes.

There was only one good episode in season one (11001001), and one good episode in season two (Measure of a Man)…Season three upped the bar a little, but they didn’t hit their stride til season 4 and 5, when Moore and Braga took the reins of the writing staff.

I agree with everyone about remastering. Would make me tune in, but doesn’t seem feasible.

Funny how I feel the same about it not aging nearly as well as TOS. I’d rather watch the worst TOS episodes (Way to Eden, Lights of Zetar, Alternative Factor) than the mediocre eps of TNG, which the vast majority of were.

24 – Hilarious!

WGN, which seems to be in everyone’s cable package, just started rerunning TNG, including a block of three episodes on Tuesday evening.

I hadn’t seen those very first shows for a long time. There’s a (too-) strong TOS influence and Picard and his young First Officer talk too loudly and prance around like someone has surgically inserted a pole in an awkward place. Other than the small command crew, the bridge is empty unless they need a closeup of someone poking at a display screen. (And, explain to me why the ship’s counselor spends so much time on the bridge rather than in her office actually doing her job.)

All ensemble shows start off like this and grow into their own as the actors and the writers work on the characters and their relationships and personalities. Everyone’s still cardboard in these intiial episodes.

Never say never, but it will be a long time before we see TNG-R, or a Blu-Ray release of the series. Unlike TOS, which had a finished negative of a complete show, the filmed elements of TNG were transferred to NTSC video for editing and the majority of the effects were created in the video realm as well. So a film negative doesn’t even exist of this show.

In order to remaster it, they will have to find and rescan each single shot of every show, recreate new visual effects at HD resolutions, then reedit and resync all of this with the original finished audio tracks. This project would make TOS-R seem elementary by comparison – not to mention the cost.

And be happy with your DVD’s – bumped up to Blu-Ray, the standard def version would look very, very bad.

#10 Entrprise:

People… give free passes to… Voyager.

Not me. The episodes setting up their journey in the wilderness were of interest, as well as the few that wrapped up how htey got home, but most everything in between was bland, boring and predictable. I never like thed characters. Some I actively disliked.

The biggest weakenss of Trek’s core concept is that the story possiblities for a small nmber of characters located in a vehcile, even a starship, are very limited. You need conflict. If all the conflict is between onboard crewmembers, that’s the slippery slope to soap opera. If the conflict is generated by diffent crazy aliens every week. that’s the slippery slope to boredom. You need to introduce antagonists that remain in the story from week to week. I.e., Borg, Klingons, Romulans. Voyager’s contacts with the Borg and other baddies never convinced me.


I understand the technical reasons, but in 2009 everything is digitally possible. IMO it’s really only a matter of money.

It’s great that TNG – the most successful and popular Trek television series ever, for Paramount – will be back on broadcast where it belongs.

Dom, if people don’t roll their eyes and laugh at TOS they won’t have a problem with TNG either. LOL

Attention CBS
I will pay lotsss of latinum for TNG-R!
Just do it already…. I want to part with this money.

#34 If memory serves, Mike Okuda did say that they were going to do a test of TNG-R with one episode. Perhaps Anthony could shed some light on whether or not that was actually completed. If anything, I’d be curious to see which episode they picked.

Also, I agree with you about money. And remember, remastering this show wouldn’t just be about the space shots. They would have to redo everthing – green screens, phaser shots, mattes, etc.

Oops, sorry, I meant to address that to #36.

Okay TNG had a few poor episodes (particularly in the first two seasons), but by and large even the worst episodes were on par with or better than a middling sci-fi episode of another series (say, an average episode of Stargate or Babylon 5).

And when TNG is good, it’s great:
Yesterday’s Enterprise
Measure of a Man
Q Who?
Time Squared
The Best of Both Worlds
Remember Me
Cause & Effect
Chain of Command
Frame of Mind

And that’s just for starters… There are also the Moriarty episodes and the ones about Data having nightmares, etc.

35 Agreed on Voyager. The real problem was the antagonism between Maquis and Starfleet crews was supposed to continue a long time. Instead, it was used infrequently as a convenient excuse when a dash of conflict was needed. Suddenly Chakotay or B’elanna felt wronged for some reason. They became ‘one happy crew’ all too quickly. And they didn’t follow through with ‘below decks’ type stories that would have made it interesting. (Funny, JJ & gang managed to do this with LOST so far!)

So, TNG being ‘planet of the week’ worked fairly well though. If anything, I can pull out my original 1987-recorded-off-air video tapes and see how they’ve held up…. At least they won’t be as ‘hacked for commercials’ and ‘imprinted with adbugs’ as today’s syndicateds.

24 John Tesh. Yes, the will-be-the-Andy Rooney of our generation. Did you know that Vitamins K and B12 can save your life? If you add just one serving of spinach a day, you can extend your life for years. Scientists at UC-Davis are investigating how our body responds to spinach. And the conclusion is promising. Just add a bit of spinach to that diet.

What those promos reinforce to me is that STAR TREK belongs back on TV. CBS/Paramount/Viacom/ThePowersThatBe, inc. need to re-establish the franchise’s presence on television. Star Trek movies are fun and all, but Trek has been and always will be a TV show at its heart.

Wow! That 1987 promo sure turns on the wayback machine. I saw it for the first time on the VHS copy of STIV: TVH. That voice of Percy Rodrigues introducing us to what was to come.

Sure, it had a shaky start, but I was there for all seven seasons…even recorded most of them on VHS. Just to have ST once a week, as opposed to just a movie every other year was worth it.

…and who wasn’t tuned in to see what happened in TBOBW part 2!


Remaster TNG? Why? It’s perfectly fine as it is. The effects are, for the most part, superb not only for their time but for any time.

Why spend millions making a digital Enterprise-D flip and spin and fire blue phasers instead of orange? Are they going to give Picard a digital combover, or Data a digital facelift? Will the opening score be remastered so we can hear that extra cymbol player who happened to have his mic off in 1987 when they recorded it? Come on…

I just can’t jump on the TNG-R bandwagon. When TOS was remastered it was done with the idea of keeping the original 60’s flavor intact. I thing TNG’s effects hold up pretty well even today. Sure, maybe some shots could look better…but the same can be said for a LOT of the remastered TOS shots.

And as far as bashing any of the series…I just can’t do it. I’m too much of a fan. Sure, we all have our favorite series…favorite seasons…favorite episodes. And, yes, some of these have their flaws but overall it is very entertaining television. I’m glad to see Trek in nearly any form or incarnation. It sure as hell beats watching…ahem…Knight Rider…gag!

Bring on May!

And Anthony…thanks for those retro promos for TNG. I remember seeing those back in ’87 and being VERY excited that some new Trek was coming to the airwaves. Good memories.

They should make a TNG TV-movie based on the Star Trek Countdown Comic

At the very least they need to get rid of the construction paper on the consoles in the first 2 seasons. Also a blu-ray compatible re-mastering would be welcome as well.

Dammit! Where’s my TNG HD?!

# 45 and 46

TNG doesn’t need remastering because the effects are particularly bad -though I suspect a few look on the ropey side now – it’s because it was finished on hideous 500 line NTSC video-tape and will look abysmal in HD. I imagine new transfers from the camera negs would blow your socks off in comparison.

Plus many of the ship effects were recorded on film too, so if the elements still exist, could be recombined to produce a higher quality version of the old effect – no moaning about cartoony CGI then.

Personally I’d LOVE to see remastered TNG.