UPN is pulling the plug on “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
Par-produced skein will limp off the air May 13, ending a four-season run on the net. With “Enterprise” exiting and no firm plans in place for a new feature film or TV spinoff, Par will find itself “Trek”-less for the first time since “Star Trek: The Next Generation” relaunched the franchise in 1986.
UPN, which launched with “Star Trek: Voyager” 10 years ago, has never known a season sans “Trek.”
Despite the “Trek” respite, Par insiders said the franchise is far from dead. Plan now seems to be to rest it for a few years, while brainstorming new ideas for feature and TV concepts.
Despite a strong start, “Enterprise” never caught on with auds the way previous incarnations of the “Trek” franchise did and as a result will go down in the star logs as the least successful “Trek” since the original skein (which lasted three seasons).
A move to Fridays this season didn’t help matters. Embarassingly, skein has ended up losing to Sci Fi’s “Stargate SG-1,” which airs at the same time on Fridays.
Par Network TV prexy David Stapf said the studio was “grateful” for the work of “Enterprise’s” cast and crew, and left open the possibility of future skeins.
“We all look forward to a new chapter of this enduring franchise,” he said.
“Enterprise” got off to a solid start, attracting more than 13 million viewers and a 6.5/16 18-49 rating when it bowed four years ago. It then sank to an average of just 5.9 million viewers for its first season, and this year, skein is attracting just 2.9 million Trekkers per week.
On the feature front, Par was taken aback in 2002 when “Star Trek: Nemesis” saw domestic grosses of $43 million and foreign of $23 million, by far the worst B.O. performer in the series.
Still, the studio is still keeping the “Trek” fires burning, though for now at a low flame.
Longtime “Trek” producer Rick Berman has been teamed since last year with Jordan Kerner and Kerry McCluggage to develop a feature set at the Starfleet Academy, prior to the periods in which the five different series that have aired since 1966 have been set. Par hasn’t yet hired a writer.
There’s good reason for Par to hold on tightly to “Trek.”
The 10 “Trek” pics were a reliable staple for better than two decades, with a domestic cume of $760 million and foreign at just over $300 million.
And on the TV front, show has made hundreds of millions in its four previous incarnations, including DVD revenue. All the “Trek” skeins, including “Enterprise,” have made it to syndication.
(Dave McNary contributed to this report.)