The success of Star Wars is what galvanized Michael Eisner – then in charge at Paramount – into pulling the struggling Star Trek Phase II TV series off of life support, euthanizing it gently, and turning its pilot into ST:TMP.
The struggling status of Phase II had nothing to do with Star Trek, and everything to do with Paramount planning to use the show to launch Paramount Television Service (UPN for the ’70s!) in 1978; the Big Three networks ganged up against PTS, strong-arming advertisers into not buying ad time on it, and threatening to not renew Paramount-produced shows like Happy Days that already had prime-time slots on the existing networks. This basically killed PTS in the womb. Star Wars, followed a few months later by CE3K, made it easy to go ahead and abort PTS but keep Trek alive as a movie.
The network was far enough along that a preliminary graphics package for promos and sales material had been completed.
Huh, I didn’t know about that, I knew Paramount wanted to create a new network in the ’70s but I didn’t know why it failed. I guess they couldn’t have attempted syndication with Phase II back then like they successfully did with The Next Generation, considering there weren’t as many UHF regional and indie stations in the ’70s.
What’s funny is, these days, that tactic would not work. We’re starting our own network, and you’re not renewing a juggernaut like Happy Days? Fine – screw you. Hey, everyone! We’ve got Star Trek AND Happy Days!