Star Trek: The Original Series aired on NBC for all three of its seasons
NBC recevied thousands of fan letters for Star Trek: The Original Series during the series first season, but it was nothing compared to what the studio received when there were rumblings of a possible cancellation of the sci-fi series. From December 1967 through March 1968, the network received over 116,000 pieces of mail encouraging the renewal of Star Trek. A network executive later clarified that there were actually one million pieces of mail, and Norman Lunenfeld, who was NBC’s vice president of Licensing and Merchandising was distraught with the number of mail trucks coming down the street to deliver more fan mail.
NBC paid attention because the letters weren’t just coming from kids who loved a good science fiction show. They were coming from doctors, scientists, teachers, and other professional people. According to March 29, 1968 edition of Times Daily, the letters were written on “good stationery,” and if there was one thing a network wanted at the time, besides high Nielsen ratings, it was the “prestige of a show that appeals to the upper middleclass and high brow audiences.” But, as much as NBC liked the letter writers, it didn’t want the continuing influx of letters as according to A Vision of the Future by Stephen Poe, the network had a policy of responding to each piece of viewer mail.
Star Trek: The Original Series fans were serious about the season two renewal.
By the time NBC notified the audience that the series had been renewed (after the episode “The Omega Glory” on March 1, 1968), the network had already shelled out millions of dollars to respond to each reques for renewal. It made the announcement with the hopes that fans would stop writing, but the renewal resulted in another influx of thousands of letters thanking NBC, which, in turn, resulted in even more costs for the network.
Is it any wonder today that the chances of getting a response from a network is slim to none?