UPN thought Scott Bakula was responsible for poor ratings
When they were casting for Star Trek: Enterprise, producers Brannon Braga and Rick Berman wanted Scott Bakula to portray Captain Jonathan Archer from the start. They both felt that Bakula would bring something unique to the role. Braga noted that Bakula really seemed like he was Archer because he was an every day guy and not a polished captain while Berman said that “Scott personifies the charm and intelligence that this role calls for.”
But as the show got underway and the ratings weren’t what the studio had hoped for, executives started pointing fingers…at Bakula which led them to issue an ultimatum at the end of season three. If the series had any chance of getting renewed, which the network wasn’t leaning towards, then Bakula would have to go.
The idea of cancellation wasn’t a new one, and Scott Bakula had already begun looking for a new job. But Rick Berman wasn’t willing to let him go without a fight. And he had a strong ally in his corner—Garry Hart, a former UPN had and a staunch Star Trek supporter. According to Bakula, Hart was one of the biggest reasons why the series got renewed. (“Before Her Time: Decommissioning Enterprise”, ENT Season 4 Blu-ray special features)
Scott Bakula shouldn’t be blamed for the ratings or the cancellation
There are plenty of other reasons why the series wasn’t performing as well as the network liked. For one, Enterprise was often pre-empted for Major League Baseball or other local sports. Another is the time frame for when the series premiered. John Billingsley thought the show needed at least a year off before debuting. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for Rick Berman and Brannon Braga as UPN wanted the series on the air as soon as possible because Star Trek: Voyager was ending. And when the ratings took a hit in season two, it was UPN that demanded significant changes for the third season, one of which was the serialized Xindi story which many fans didn’t like.
In reality, Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled for a myriad of reasons, and the blame certainly can’t be placed on Bakula’s shoulders nor is it equitable to do so. Some fans credit the cast for holding their attention for four seasons and say that it was the storylines that didn’t work for them. Still others blame a lack of promotion for the series by UPN. Regardless of what caused the cancellation back in 2005, streaming channels have given the series a whole new lease on life, and if Paramount Plus wanted, it could certainly revive the series without any concerns about flagging ratings.