Star Trek star says Enterprise was killed by 'greedy bean counters'

Contributed by
Dec 16, 2012

Another Star Trek actor—this time it's John Billingsley's turn—has come out to talk about the cancellation of Enterprise back in 2005, after only four years on our TV screens, blasting Paramount and the studio's greed in the process.

For four seasons, John Billingsley made us smile as Phlox, the beloved Enterprise NX-01's Denobulan chief medical officer under Capt. Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula). Some of you may also know him as Bon Temps' funeral home director and coroner, Mike Spencer, from the first three seasons of HBO's True Blood.

In a lengthy interview with Indy Star, the actor spoke up about the reasons behind Enterprise's early demise—when everyone had expected the series to last for seven seasons, and the cast were told they would be the next Trek movie franchise—saying: ''I certainly think it was time to give the TV franchise a rest, and maybe just put an end to it.''

But the true reasons behind the demise of the series were, according to the actor, really about studio greed and money:

The reality is you can't write a novel by committee. Any great work of art is the product of one man's vision. [The early series] were Roddenberry's. ... But what happened with Voyager and our show Enterprise, and I don't mean this in any way as a knock on our executive producers ... but Paramount was saying more, more, more, more, more, because they viewed this as a commercial product. Nothing [in television] works when it is brought into being by the marketing department. Paramount kind of sabotaged itself. I think they got greedy, and that's what studios do, unfortunately, because they are run largely by bean counters.

I say this, sounding harsh to my own ear: Everybody is in business to make a buck. But the idea that you have to have a product that has some artistic viability, that it just isn't cash in, sometimes eludes the folks who are looking at the bottom line.

It's a miracle we got four seasons. Any other TV show would have been yanked after one season. Our ratings were abysmal. We opened well, we had a great audience for the first episode, and they watched it and they said, "This is nothing new. It's the same Star Trek I've been watching for years and years. It's a retread." And they ran away.

Sounds a little bit like what Billingsley's fellow Enterprise actor, Connor Trinneer, who played Cmdr. Charles "Trip" Tucker, said a few months back. But only, you know, a bit harsher.

What do you think?

(via Trek Web)

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