16. I Love Lucy Stopped It From Getting Cancelled
Star Trek was never a particularly popular show. Gene Roddenberry had to fight to get it made in the first place, and that combative nature didn’t sit well with the network executives when it was on the air; his behaviour combined with the more “radical” aspects of the series further placed him in their bad books from the start.
Coupled with some fairly low ratings, NBC was all but ready to pull the plug after the first season. The only reason it managed to last another two? Because of the last minute intervention of actress Lucille Ball, the titular star of the network’s phenomenally popular sitcom I Love Lucy.
Ball was the head of Desilu Productions, the parent company of the studio that produced Star Trek. She had a soft spot for the show and got it saved from the chopping block…the first time, anyway. Eventually the show got axed after three seasons and 79 episodes. Just enough to get it playing in re-runs, where it found even more admirers.