The first regular episode of science fiction television series Star Trek, The Man Trap, aired on Thursday, September 8, 1966. Star Trek was originally created by Gene Roddenberry and follows the adventures of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701) and its crew. The show is set in the Milky Way galaxy, roughly during the 2260s. The ship and crew are led by Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner), first officer and science officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy), and chief medical officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley). NBC ordered 16 episodes of Star Trek, besides “Where No Man Has Gone Before”. Debuting against mostly reruns, Star Trek easily won its time slot however it gradually slipped down the ratings.Although Roddenberry later claimed that NBC was unaware of Star Trek’s favorable demographics,awareness of Star Trek’s “quality” audience is what likely caused the network to retain the show after the first and second seasons. NBC instead decided to order 10 more new episodes for the first season, and order a second season in March 1967. This aired between 7:30–8:30 pm Tuesday, then 8:30–9:30 pm on Friday from 1967–68
The series was produced from September 1966 to December 1967 by Norway Productions and Desilu Productions, and by Paramount Television from January 1968 to June 1969 and was watched by scientists, museum curators, psychiatrists, doctors, university professors and other highbrows. The Smithsonian Institution even asked for a print of the show for its archives, .Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966 to June 3, 1969 but was actually seen first on September 6, 1966 on Canada’s CTV network.
Surprisingly Star Trek’s ratings declined during the second season. Shatner even expected the show to end after two seasons and began to prepare for other projects. However Star Trek survived, thanks to a “quality audience” including “upper-income, better-educated males”. The show was unusual in its serious discussion of contemporary societal issues in a futuristic context, unlike Lost in Space which was more “campy” in nature and this is what appealed to audiences. However This enthusiasm of Star Trek’s viewers surprised NBC and When rumors spread in1967 that Star Trek was at risk of cancellation, Roddenberry secretly began and funded an effort to persuade tens of thousands of viewers to write letters of support to save the program. Newspaper columnists also encouraged readers to write letters to help save what was described as “the best science fiction show on the air”. More than 200 Caltech students also marched to NBC’s Burbank, California studio to support Star Trek in January 1968 and Berkeley and MIT students organized similar protests in San Francisco and New York.
Eventually the network cancelled it after three seasons and 79 episodes. Several years later, the series became a bona fide hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture and is still being repeated to this day. Star Trek spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, thirteen feature films, numerous books, games, toys, and is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time.