Star Trek: The Next Generation did a lot to help syndicated television.
It boggles the mind that a cash cow like Star Trek: The Next Generation was passed over by national television outlets like NBC, ABC, Fox, and CBS. None of those networks truly wanted Next Generation, at least in the way the show producers wanted to the show and in a way would see the show make back its money.
So instead they went into syndication, usually a bad thing, but due to the hype of the new show, the success of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, the series had a lot of buyers. They were able to get on all over the country by selling their show to one market at a time and in doing so, turned Trek into a golden goose franchise, which would see three more series take off from the Next Generation. One would also go to syndication, Deep Space Nine before Paramount launched their own network, UPN, and created Voyager and Enterprise.
None of that would’ve been possible without The Next Generation. That wasn’t all that the Next Generation would do. Nope, they would also show other producers that expensive, high-priced syndication shows could work.
What other shows owe their success to Star Trek: The Next Generation?
Due to the success of The Next Generation, shows like Superboy, Hercules, Xena, and Baywatch were just some of the shows that found major success as first-run syndicated shows. Other shows like Babylon 5 moved to syndication out of necessity and found some strong success.
None of those shows would’ve been able to exist, at least in the format they were in, without The Next Generation proving that large-budgeted first-run syndicated shows were capable of making money.
While The Next Generation would’ve gotten larger numbers on CBS or NBC, the fact is the paved the way for so many others to find success. Without Picard yelling at his crew constantly, we may have never gotten Pam Anderson in an orange bathing suit for a few years.
So thank you, Captain, for all you made possible.