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Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Boldly gone: 'Star Trek: Enterprise' cancelled

The Cast of Star Trek - Enterprise
The Cast of Star Trek Enterprise

UPN announced Wednesday that it would not renew "Star Trek: Enterprise" for a fifth season.

"Enterprise" will end its run on May 13, thus bringing to a close 18 years of "Star Trek" spinoffs on TV.

Though "Enterprise" had struggled with low ratings during its fourth season, the timing of UPN's announcement came as something of a surprise to fans. Networks typically announce cancellations or renewals in April or May.

"I'm surprised they announced it this soon," said Steve Krutzler, editor of Trekweb.com. "Now that the series [has] gotten good, I'm really going to miss it," said a user on TrekToday.com's message boards.

Though UPN entertainment president Dawn Ostroff said recently that "we're very happy with the ideas and execution" of the show, "Enterprise's" cancellation was widely expected.

The show had been moved to Fridays from Wednesdays at the start of the fall season, and Leslie Moonves, co-president and co-chief operating officer of Viacom, the parent company of UPN, said at a January press event that "Star Trek" "may be a franchise that should be rested a year or two."

The last few episodes of "Enterprise" were its lowest-rating outings; the Jan. 28 episode garnered 2.5 million viewers, "Enterprise's" smallest audience ever.

The series also has faced stiff competition on Fridays in recent weeks from Sci Fi Channel's "Stargate SG-1," which on Jan. 28 performed better than "Enterprise" in certain key demographics, according to a Sci Fi press release.

Two fan groups had actually been working to save "Enterprise" before the cancellation was even announced, but many followers of the sci-fi franchise were philosophical about the demise of the series.

"There probably need to be a few years off," Krutzler said. "There probably need to be some new people coming in who are interested in going forward in a different direction."

"It's sad from cultural perspective that this chapter has come to an end," Krutzler added. "But maybe it will come back better."

Executive producer Manny Coto told the Tribune in December that if UPN did greenlight a fifth season of "Enterprise," he had ambitious plans for it.

As the fourth season closes, "we'll be headed toward the founding of the Federation," Coto said. "I would love to make that a season-long arc… It becomes an arc about trying to bring different cultures together which is a really resonant idea for our time. I would love to come back and we would do some serious research on the founding of the UN, how that came together."

"Enterprise" will make its debut in syndication in the fall, and executives at Paramount Television say more is in store for "Star Trek."

"All of us at Paramount warmly bid goodbye to `Enterprise,' and we all look forward to a new chapter of this enduring franchise in the future," David Stapf, president of Paramount Network Television, said in a statement.

The original "Star Trek" series ran from 1966-'69. "Star Trek: The Next Generation," which debuted in 1987, ran seven seasons, as did "Star Trek: Voyager" and "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine." At times, there were two "Trek" series on the air.

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