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CANCELLATION

The end of star trek Enterprise

CANCELLATION

By the third season, ratings were continually declining, and the threat of cancellation loomed over Star Trek: Enterprise. This, along with the poor box office performance in 2002 of the film Star Trek Nemesis, cast an uncertain light upon the future of the Star Trek franchise in general.

2004

Fans launched a letter writing campaign similar to the one that saved the third season of the Original Series. On May 20, 2004, it was announced that Enterprise had been renewed for a fourth season, but that the show would move from Wednesday to Friday nights. This move echoed the rescheduling of the original Star Trek to a Friday night time slot for its third season prior to its ultimate cancellation, as Friday nights have traditionally been considered "death row" for a major TV production.

Hired as a writer during the third season, Manny Coto was promoted to co-executive producer, becoming the series showrunner for the fourth season. Coto decided to retain the "arc" concept of season 3, but reduce it from one season-long arc to several "mini-arcs" of two or three episodes, with few standalones. The producers attempted to attract viewers by terminating a long-running story arc (the Temporal Cold War) and scheduling numerous episodes that served as prequels to storylines from The Original Series and The Next Generation.

Beginning in the summer of 2004, and continuing throughout the fourth season, there were reports that William Shatner would reprise the role of James T. Kirk or perhaps an ancestor in the series, but an agreement could not be reached.

The fourth season got off to a slow start in the ratings on October 8, 2004, due to the Friday time-slot, preemptions by local sports in some markets, and by coverage of the second presidential debate between George W. Bush and John Kerry in others. As well, Enterprise fans continued to indicate they chose to watch the weekend showing rather than the Friday broadcast, or chose to "time-shift" the program using their VCR or DVR equipment. In October 2004, it was announced that Enterprise was the 25th most popular Season Pass on the TiVo television recording system in the United States.

2005

Speculation as to the future of the series came to an end on February 2, 2005, when UPN announced the series had been cancelled and its final episode would air on Friday, May 13, 2005. Fan groups such as "Save Enterprise" and "TrekUnited" joined forces and announced a drive to raise money to finance a further season of Enterprise. Approximately $30 million was the goal of the campaign, based upon estimates of the cost for a full season cited by John Billingsley and others. In addition, Washington, D.C. lobbyist Dan Jensen circulated a letter on Capitol Hill in an effort to appeal to the sentiments of legislators. As a result, then Florida Congressman Mark Foley agreed to sign the letter. The Washington "lobbying" effort garnered considerable press, and had a feature article on the front page of Roll Call.

Production of the fourth season concluded on March 8, 2005, and by the end of the month, Startrek.com was reporting the Enterprise sets had been taken down, marking the first time that Stage 9 at Paramount Studios has been without Star Trek sets since the late 1970s. The website did not indicate whether the sets have been preserved in storage (the industry term being 'fold-and-hold') or if they have been destroyed.

As of April 13, 2005, Paramount and UPN remained adamant that the cancellation of the series was final and that the studio was not interested in continuing the current incarnation of Star Trek. TrekUnited officials, however, still claimed to be in talks with Paramount over the future of the series at the time.

The website IGN Filmforce, reported on rumors Paramount had actually decided to cancel Enterprise after its fourth season as early as midway through the second year, quoted an unidentified "executive involved with Enterprise" as saying this scenario was "very likely".

Although widely reported as the death knell of the Star Trek franchise, the cancellation of Enterprise was followed within months by the announcement that Paramount was in pre-production on an 11th Star Trek feature film. After a false start involving Berman which would have set the film in a time period after the events of Enterprise but before TOS, Paramount recruited a new producing and writing team, which ultimately led to the release of a new Star Trek film in May 2009. Like Enterprise, the new film (which did contain an indirect reference to the series: Scotty believes he has been "exiled" to the remote Starfleet outpost, where Kirk and the older Spock encounter him, as punishment for losing Admiral Archer's beagle - whom Kirk is quite familiar with - in a transporter mishap) also adopted a prequel concept, with a different approach.



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