Star Trek: from syndication to… popularity?

Star TrekPicked up in syndication by Kaiser Broadcasting’s station group and other independent TV stations across America – often those with no newscast of their own – Star Trek sees its ratings skyrocket. The Kaiser stations run it directly opposite local and network newscasts at 6:00pm in most markets. Paramount Television runs an ad in Broadcast Magazine, claiming that New York City independent station WPIX has shown a 96% gain in ratings over the previous programming in the same time slot. In Los Angeles, KCOP’s nightly Star Trek reruns boost ratings 77%. It is from this culture – the nightly reruns of the 79 episodes reaching saturation point – that Star Trek fandom truly arises, gradually leading to an outcry for new material that gets Paramount’s attention later in the ’70s. With most of the cast battling typecasting, the conventions prove to be a lucrative draw for the show’s stars (and creator Gene Roddenberry, who becomes a popular speaker at conventions).

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