45 Years of Star Trek

Star Trek premiered on NBC exactly 45 years ago today on Thursday, September 8th, 1966. It seems like just yesterday the 40th anniversary was being celebrated and yet here we are five years later marking another impressive anniversary. Five years from now it will be the 50th anniversary and before long the 60th. Will anyone still be celebrating Star Trek in 2066? For more on Star Trek, read my article A Look at Star Trek.

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6 Replies to “45 Years of Star Trek”

  1. ‘Star Trek’ premiere episode ratings on Thursday September 8, 1966:

    Nielsen 18.7HH/37% (Sep II national)
    Trendex 19.2HH/41% (26 city overnights)
    Arbitrons 18.9HH/37% (major markets)

    ‘Star Trek’ was first in the timeslot at debut, but started to fall off and erode. ‘Star Trek’ was the first new NBC series of the 1966-67 season to receive a full season pickup in early October, with the Peacock giving Desilu an order for 10 additional episodes beyond the initial 16-episode order.

  2. Keep in mind that “STAR TREK”s premiere was actually a “sneak preview”- its official premiere was scheduled for Thursday, September 15, 1966, but the network decided to preview it a week earlier (especially to attract kids of the families watching) in “DANIEL BOONE”‘s time period [7:30-8:30pm(et)], choosing “The Man Trap” as the first episode instead of the second pilot. On September 15th, the series appeared in its regular 8:30pm(et) time period, with the episode “Charlie X” {“Where No Man Has Gone Before” [scenes of which appeared in the NBC fall preview special “Two In A Taxi”] finally aired on the 22nd}. “The Man Trap” got respectable ratings because it aired at an earlier time, without much competition (save for ABC’s season premieres of ‘BATMAN” and “F TROOP”). The trouble began when the series aired at 8:30, against much stronger competition- notably CBS’ “MY THREE SONS” and the first half-hour of ‘THE CBS THURSDAY NIGHT MOVIES”, and at mid-season, ABC’s “BEWITCHED” (after the disastrous short-run of “THE TAMMY GRIMES SHOW”, they temporarily filled the time with a prime-time edition of “THE DATING GAME”, moving it to Saturdays in January, replacing half of “SHANE”). The main reason NBC renewed “STAR TREK” was because, like the first two seasons of “BONANZA” (1959-’61), it was a perfect example of color television that could be viewed on RCA color sets [RCA, NBC’s corporate parent back then, was also a regular sponsor of the series as well].

    1. interesting, I never knew that about STAR TREK and color TV, and I’m a huge treky.

      I remember I used to work with a guy who said once that he used to go over to his brothers house to watch it in its original run because his brother had a color TV.

  3. That’s right, Aaron. Virtually all of the clips seen on the 1966 NBC Fall Preview special were from the pilot episodes of the network’s new series {however, “THE GIRL FROM U.N.C.L.E.” did not have an “official pilot” featuring Stephanie Powers and Noel Harrsion- but scenes from the initial episode filmed for the series, “The Horns-of-the-Dilemma Affair” [10/18/66], were used}.

  4. In our area, the “sneak preview” of “Star Trek” was pre-empted for a reason very special to me… the local NBC affiliate showed a special produced by my father! He had taken a trip to Europe that summer with the All-Student Band, a collection of the best high-school musicians in the country who did a concert tour of Europe, and the documentary he made about the trip was broadcast on September 8th, 1966, from 7:30 to 8:30. I still have the TV Guide for that week, which features ads for the “Star Trek” sneak preview, which was aired in the other markets covered by that edition.

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