For those of you who don't like to rely on the viewer ratings numbers, here are a few other tell tale signs of the failing Star Trek franchise under the current leadership. These signs are becoming more and more clear every day.
- "ENTERPRISE" -- The series 'Enterprise' has lost so much viewership that the show is in serious jeopardy of being canceled altogether. That is a horrible sign that Enterprise is poor enough quality that people don't want to watch. Some would agree that it may have some good points -- but compare this series to the success of TNG or TOS and it almost certainly does not match up.
- "STAR TREK : NEMESIS" -- Nemesis did absolutely horrible in the box office, and continues to do so, having opened at the lowest margins of any Star Trek movie or series EVER!
- "ST: THE EXPERIENCE" -- Star Trek: The Experience (Las Vegas Hotel) has lost so much revenue over the last two years that it is considering closing down indefinitely.
- THE MAGAZINE -- Star Trek: The Magazine, the popular companion magazine to the Star Trek world, will no longer be in production after April of next year, due to cost and (in some cases) lack of material and interest. SOURCE: http://www.stmagazine.com
- THE ACTORS/ACTRESSES -- A very good majority of the Trek actors we know and love are becoming so disgusted with the current trend that Paramount has sent them in that they don't even want to come back.
- THE CONVENTIONS -- Lately, some of the more popular Star Trek conventions have been canceled or postponed due to lack of interest of people signing up, the inability to sign the actors for appearances, and so on. Although the news article posted on www.sfedora.com (Slanted Fedora Entertainment) has now been removed, they did have a convention scheduled for Las Vegas this year (2003) which was canceled for the reasons stated above. We are currently trying to contact them for confirmation and for a copy of their article which stated this.
There are so many more signs, including the horrible scripts that have been plaguing Trek movies and series since Voyager, and all added up, they point to one indisputable fact: Star Trek is in serious trouble!
Myself, along with thousands of other fans, think that it is time to finally stand up and do something.
REMEMBER THIS though: Star Trek in itself will NEVER die... It may disappear from the movie and TV screens, but it will always live on with its fans. The fans are the sole reason why Trek is still alive today, not Paramount. There are hundreds of people out there who have Star Trek fan sites, fan clubs, fan fiction series, etc. Although the living, breathing Trek which we can see on screens may be failing right now, the ideals of Trek will never die!
The Trouble with Trek
Having shown the statistics above, the question should then become: What is the trouble with Trek? Ask Trek fans that question, and you'll get many different answers, ranging from bad writing, to over saturation of the market. A great many fans (whether new or old fans) will tell you though, that the answer lies in the fact that Gene's dream seems to have been lost. All of these reasons for Trek's current downslide can be attributed to one thing, which can easily be summed up in two words: Rick Berman.
Rick Berman Revealed... The Truth
To gain more insight on Rick Berman, let's take a few moments to examine who he is. Berman first joined Paramount in 1984, when he was hired as director of current programming. Within his first year, he was promoted to executive director of dramatic programming. His credits to that date included "Cheers", "Family Ties", "Webster", "Space", "Wallenburg: A Hero's Story", and "MacGuyver". In 1986, he received a new promotion, this time as the vice president of long form and special projects for Paramount Network Television.
In 1988 (?), with Gene's health beginning to deteriorate, Paramount presented him with a small list of 4 of producers to choose from. From this list, Gene was to choose which person he would hire as support to help oversee the new series, The Next Generation, and eventually be his successor to the Star trek franchise -- Rick Berman was among those four names. Sources "very close" to Star Trek at that time have revealed to the STFA that Gene didn't like any of the four, but that Rick was chosen because he was the best of the four.
So, in 1987 (?), Rick joined the current Trek series (The Next Generation) as executive producer. The STFA has also learned from sources close to Trek, that from the very beginning he and Gene were constantly arguing about where the series should go. Rick Berman didn't agree with Gene's vision, and did not want to uphold the ideals which had to that point made Star Trek so popular. In 1991, the saddest thing that could have ever happened to Star Trek and its fans did -- Gene Roddenberry passed away, thus leaving control of the franchise to Rick.
From that moment on, the very nature of Star Trek was changed. Rick was on a personal mission to destroy Gene's original dream by doing it his way, seeking to make a name for himself. Although Rick's co-created spin-offs successive to Gene's passing met with mediocre popularity in the beginning stages, people began turning it off as they realized that it was simply not Gene's vision any longer.
Which brings us to the current time of Voyager and Enterprise, and the TNG movies. With viewer ratings so low that they risk being canceled altogether, Rick's efforts to revitalize the show have been to include the sexual innuendo's, open sexuality, blatant uses of war as action -- concepts which Gene so adamantly refused to use to make a story. Although the addition of such characters as Seven-of-Nine (VOY) and T'Pol (ENT), and the usage of the Dominion War (DS9) have wowed some segments of the audience, most Trek fans who are familiar with Gene's dream and his vision were not moved.
Another note about Rick Berman is that he has shown a way of manipulating the media outlets that reach fans. On paper and in front of cameras, he praises Gene's ideas and touts how such projects as Voyager, Enterprise and Nemesis were huge hits and that ratings are rising. Check out a copy of the latest "official" Star Trek magazines to see these comments.... Take a good look at the charts above, though, which were compiled from the official Nielsen ratings which Rick has to read every day, too. It is obvious that his statements are not true, designed to mislead the average person who does not have access to such records into tuning in. Click here to see a list of the comments that Rick has made about Trek (most are recent).
So What Do We Do About it? (The Goals of this Campaign)
For those of you who are sports fans, ask yourself this question: When you favorite team goes on a five or six year losing streak, what happens? Typically, the coach of the team is blamed, the fans protest, and the owner of the team fires the coach in favor of someone who would be better to run the team. It should not be any different with something as important to us as Star Trek.
Gene Roddenberry once said "What we should depend on is what is basically with the fans. They are the ones who made Star Trek possible because they believe in the things that we talked about, and the networks and others have never really believed the fans were of the quality group that they are, but they are wonderful and they make all this possible." He could not have been more right about this -- it is the fans that have allowed Star Trek to live so long. Not the studios, not the executives in charge, but the fans. It is time that we need to stand up in one voice and speak collectively as the fans of Star Trek.
This campaign's goal is to rally Star Trek fans who are upset or disappointed, and who want Star Trek to return to the original dream and ideals of Gene Roddenberry. More to the point, we intend to cry out in as loud of a voice as possible to Viacom (who owns Paramount) and Paramount of our feelings. Show them that we are aware of the numbers, of the decline of Star Trek's franchise, and that we're not about to let it die. Although Star Trek will live on in the hearts if fans and will never die, it's time on-screen is all but washed out -- unless we do something now.
Now for those of you who would quickly attack this campaign and it's goals as just a "headhunting" mission, I will say this: This is not an attack on Rick Berman as a person -- merely an attempt to save the dream and vision of Star Trek that has touched so many people for decades. We want to preserve the legacy of Trek so that future generations will also be able to benefit from its words of wisdom.
The only real way to fix this problem, and to save Star Trek and Gene's dream, is to demand that Rick Berman be removed from control of the franchise. Someone who was very close to Gene at the beginning should be placed in charge to make sure that Gene's dream is revitalized and will live on. More importantly, no one person should be in charge of the franchise, as one person can very easily destroy the legacy just as Rick has very nearly done. A committee, or Star Trek Board of Trustees should be nominated and set in place, people who have lived the dream and been there every step of the way with Gene. These people should have played an integral role in shaping the Star Trek universe with Gene: Bob Justman, Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, Leonard Nimoy, and the like. Most importantly, though, Rick Berman and his staff should not be allowed to continue with the fate of the Star Trek franchise in the palm of their hands.
Does the seemingly overwhelming task of convincing a major corporation such as Viacom and Paramount to remove one of its upper level executives seem daunting and impossible? Sure it does, but I promise you that it IS possible. Star Trek lives only because of its fans, and if we stand up and shout out as one voice, Paramount and Viacom will have to listen to us.
One Final Note
The STFA and this campaign are not based on any opinions. All of our information has been based on actual numbers and facts from professional sources. If you are a fan of DS9, Voyager or Enterprise, or if you in fact liked Nemesis, this campaign and its progenitors are in no way badmouthing your opinions. Star Trek as a whole was simply meant to be better, both in the quality of its stories and the form of its message. Why be a part of the problem by resisting the urge to help us save Star Trek and make it so much better -- be a part of the solution with us. Join the campaign, support us, and together we can take Star Trek to new heights and put it back where it belongs within Gene Roddenberry's dream.
THIS SITE AND THE CAMPAIGN ARE FOREVER DEDICATED TO THE RODDENBERRY FAMILY, BOTH MAJEL AND ROD AS WELL AS GENE. THEY ARE THE ONES WHO FOUGHT FOR YEARS TO BRING US THE DREAM, AND THEY DESERVE TO BE HONORED FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO OUR SOCIETY THROUGH STAR TREK.
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as of 03/12/03 @
7:57 pm EST