Star Trek premiered in September 1966 on NBC and ran for three seasons before the network cancelled it. The iconic sci-fi series immediately went into local syndication and became wildly popular with viewers. The following is from the March 10th, 1969 edition of Broadcasting:
Star Trek, coming off NBC-TV at the conclusion of the current season, will be placed in domestic syndication by Paramount Television, producer and distributor of the series. The package will include 70 episodes of the science-fiction series, which will have had a three-year network run.
NBC broadcast 79 episodes of Star Trek between 1966 and 1969. I’m not sure why the syndication announcement mentions just 70 episodes. It’s possible that some were initially held back from syndication but I find that unlikely. Paramount Television placed a full page advertisement in Broadcasting a few weeks later promoting the availability of Star Trek for national syndication. Over the next year, at least three additional full page advertisements appeared in Broadcasting promoting the success of Star Trek in local syndication.
Here are four syndication advertisements for Star Trek from the pages of Broadcasting. Click on any of the images for a larger version.
Paramount Television no doubt paid for additional advertisements throughout the 1970s as Star Trek continued to enjoy phenomenal success in local syndication.
“Program Notes.” Broadcasting. 10 Mar. 1969: 66D.
11 Replies to “Star Trek Syndication Advertisements, Circa 1969-1970”
If you read the first ad, it clearly says 79 episodes. Obviously, the first press release had a mistake.
I take exception to this statement. “Star Trek continued to enjoy phenomenal success in syndication.” Star Trek couldn’t “continue” success as it never had success in the original broadcast. ST was almost cancelled the first year. It WAS cancelled the 2nd year. Nothing but an intense letter writing campaign and fans picketing at the studio got ST renewed for the 3rd year, when it was again cancelled, for good this year. ST never met phenomenal success until it was in syndication, and it took awhile at that. It had to find an entirely new, young audience from the original fans before it took off in popularity. I know. I am one who took part in that letter writing campaign. I was 13, sitting in front of a black/white TV in September, 1966 when the very first ST episode was broadcast.
It may not have been a success on network TV, but it was an instant success in local syndication. And that success continued throughout the 1970s.
Thank you for participating in the writing campaign. Without your help we may never got to experience Star Trek the original series. I wasn’t even born yet when the show originally aired but became one of the fans in syndication.
i first saw an episode of star trek in 1967 in Gibraltar and was wondering how this fitted into the distribution and syndication timeline
I looked up the original article mentioned above in the March 10, 1969 issue of Broadcasting and it says that there are 79 episodes of Star Trek, not 70 as noted above.
Just thought I’d point that out.
I love these pictures. Fascinating as Spock would say. I like how they advertise the series as a potentially good show as re-runs. It is still an amazing story how it became a hit so many years after it was first aired.
Wikipedia and at least one book source it quotes claims that Kaiser bought Star Trek in 1967, despite there being only one season’s worth of episodes, to use on its stations as “counter programing” during the 6-7pm hour. The book is called “NBC: America’s Network” and it says “Thus began Star Trek’s afterlife in syndicated sales.”
However…i have found absolutely no evidence that Star Trek aired in syndication until WPIX in NYC put it on at 6:30pm on Wednesday, Sept 10, 1969. From 1967 there are no TV listings, no ads, no articles or reviews, nothing. Unless, of course, you can supply something. Honestly, I think somebody is very much confused. Any thoughts?
I don’t have any information about Kaiser Broadcasting purchasing the first season of Star Trek in 1967. A quick Google search reveals multiple references to it happening but no hard evidence. To be fair, Kaiser only owned a handful of stations in 1967. Someone would have to track down contemporary listings for those specific stations and look for Star Trek at 6PM.
In 1967, Kaiser owned 4 stations, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston and Los Angeles…adding Cleveland and San Francisco in January of 1968. I can tell you definitely Boston didn’t run ST until Sept 1969. I have seen listings for Philly in Dec 1968 and Detroit in March 1969, and neither of those were airing ST then.
I actually was one of those that watched Star Trek when it was on the air on NBC (Channel 5 in my area) though didn’t start watching until the second season with “MIRROR, MIRROR” as the first episode that I saw. At that time it aired on Friday at 8:30PM. Me and my brother loved the show and were able to stay up and watch it as it wasn’t a school night. It was both Tarzan (7:30-8:30PM) and Star Trek (8:30-9:30PM) that we watched on Friday. This is what I remember. The last repeated episode to air on NBC was “REQUIEM FOR MATHUSELAH” which aired on Tuesday, September 2, 1969 at 7:30PM. Immediately the next week Star Trek went into syndication on the local channel in my area (KTNT Channel 11) Monday through Friday at 6:00PM. The week after that it was extended to Monday through Saturday. The episodes were broadcast in production order.