The man who played Dr. Phlox for four season of Enterprise has diagnosed why the series was shown the air lock. Actor John Billingsley says that corporate bean counters killed the Star Trek spin-off.
“The reality is you can’t write a novel by committee. Any great work of art is the product of one man’s vision. [The early series] were Roddenberry’s,” he tells the Indianapolis Star. “But what happened withVoyager and our show Enterprise, and I don’t mean this in any way as a knock on our executive producers … but Paramount was saying more, more, more, more, more, because they viewed this as a commercial product. Nothing [in television] works when it is brought into being by the marketing department. Paramount kind of sabotaged itself. I think they got greedy, and that’s what studios do, unfortunately, because they are run largely by bean counters.”
“I say this, sounding harsh to my own ear: Everybody is in business to make a buck. But the idea that you have to have a product that has some artistic viability, that it just isn’t cash in, sometimes eludes the folks who are looking at the bottom line,” he continues. “It’s a miracle we got four seasons. Any other TV show would have been yanked after one season. Our ratings were abysmal. We opened well, we had a great audience for the first episode, and they watched it and they said, “This is nothing new. It’s the same Star Trek I’ve been watching for years and years. It’s a retread.” And they ran away.”
Billingsley adds that the cast was also told on several occasions that Enterprise could be the next movie franchise for the long running Trek series. However, that didn’t happen.