Star Trek’s original run lasted for just three seasons — from September 8, 1966 to June 3, 1969 — and 78-plus episodes (depending on how you count). But due to the network’s interpretation of the show’s unprofitability, NBC announced that they were cancelling the TV program in early 1969. Ironically, the last episode was beamed to televisions just a month and a half before real space explorers set foot on the moon.
NBC ignored the fan protests at their own peril. Despite the per-minute price of advertising during the show falling during the third season, in reality, the show was just taking root in the minds and hearts of viewers. Not long after its cancellation, Star Trek morphed into a cult classic, then into a huge hit in syndication… and ultimately spawned five more TV series (Star Trek: The Animated Series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Enterprise, Star Trek: Voyager) and a dozen movies at last count.
Billions of dollars earned over nearly a half-century reign? Not bad for what was just supposed to be a five-year mission. – NJP