Star Trek's "five-going-on-40-year" mission could be coming to an end.
The ailing franchise could be nearing the end of a journey that began four decades ago when creator Gene Roddenberry began work on the pilot of the Paramount series that spawned five television spin-offs and 10 feature films. Viacom Co-President and Co-COO Les Moonves told reporters that Star Trek's time may have come and gone.
"The Star Trek Franchise has obviously been a very important franchise for Paramount, for the studio," he said. "The last movie didn't do particularly well. The series is struggling."
Paramount and UPN, which are both controlled by Viacom, haven't decided whether to renew Star Trek: Enterprise for another season, Moonves said.
When asked if Paramount would ever produce another Star Trek film or television series, Moonves said he didn't know. "No decision has been made."
The original Star Trek series went into production in 1964, featuring actor Jeffrey Hunter as Enterprise captain Christopher Pike, according to the TV Tome. It was originally rejected by NBC. It made it on the air after Roddenberry tweaked the show by adding more action and casting William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk. That series debuted Sept. 8, 1966 and ran through June 3, 1969. It went into syndication, where it became a cult classic, spawning generations of fans who refer to themselves as Trekkies.
The show became a franchise following the 1979 release of Paramount's Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Its success at the box office spawned films and new television series that have been in production since then.
There would be some irony in the show's demise just as Spike TV is preparing to air a reality-show send-up of the genre, Invasion Iowa (March 29-April 1), starring Shatner in a parody of his Kirk character.