Paramount Television ServiceNo sooner has Paramount’s movie arm axed Star Trek‘s big screen comeback than the studio’s television division announces the unthinkable: Paramount will form its own network, to premiere in February 1978, taking on ABC, CBS, and NBC in prime time. Leading off the new network’s first night will be a two-hour, made-for-TV Star Trek movie starring William Shatner and most of the original cast (with Leonard Nimoy notable by his absence), who will then go on to star in a weekly series chronicling the further adventure of the Enterprise. Gene Roddenberry will return as the creator of the new series. But within just a few weeks, it becomes apparent that the “big three” networks are ready to play hardball to keep Paramount’s network off the air, from leaning on their advertisers to avoid buying ad time on the new network, to quietly threatening to stop picking up Paramount-produced series for their own fall schedules.

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