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Mission: Impossible (1966 - 1973)
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Mission Specialist

Joined: 14 Dec 2013
Posts: 431
Location: 3rd Rock

PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2023 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pow wrote:
Mission: Impossible and Star Trek: TOS, were considered "sister shows" when both debuted in 1966. Both series were produced by Desilu, both filmed on the Desilu 40 Acres backlot. And both shows were imaginative and unlike any previous television series.

There was a difference between the two shows. Gene Roddenberry was known to sit down with NBC and discuss the ongoing budget challenges for Trek. Bruce Geller was known for refusing to ever discuss the budget issues for Mission.

Indeed, Geller didn't care about cost overruns. He wouldn't cut corners for any reason, and, mind you, CBS paid more per episode of Mission than NBC paid for Trek. CBS loved Mission once its ratings took off and Geller wouldn't do a thing to not go over budget on virtually every episode. Star Trek was much closer to on-budget overall, largely thanks to Bob Justman.

The main budget issue was with Desilu, not NBC. In the first season of Star Trek NBC's per episode license fee was $140K out of the initial $192K budget, which Desilu dropped to $185K near the end of the first season. As per the contract, NBC's fee increased every year, even as Paramount (after absorbing Desilu) slashed the budget. NBC was never the villain as far as money goes.

The issue Bird (Roddenberry) had with NBC re the budget is that science fiction's expensive to stage, especially at a second tier studio with high overhead. But he'd sold them the series on a "strange new worlds" concept, and the network (through Stan Robertson) held his feet to the fire on delivering on that promised format, though it was cheaper to set stories on the Enterprise standing sets. There was a lot of fights over plot element repetition. (For instance, Robertson really put his foot down during the first season after seeing duplicate/fake characters in 3 episodes — "The Man Trap" ,"The Enemy Within", "What Are Little Girls Made Of?", and a parallel universe Kirk was suggested in "The Alternative Factor" — and said NBC would not approve any further scripts for that season with copies of characters.)
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