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Feature: Star Trek: Enterprise

Running Man

Scott Bakula as Captain Archer With another season of Star Trek: Enterprise in preparation, Scott Bakula is shaping up ready for a further tour of duty.

On this summer night at one of those frenzied entertainment parties on the beach in Santa Monica, Bakula is looking quite trim and relaxed in a white shirt and pants, his beautiful wife, actress Chelsea Field, by his side. The main reason Bakula looks so calm, though, may not be because of a summer spent away from the bridge of the starship Enterprise. It may be in spite of it.

“I’ve got kids, and they were in school until June 13,” explains the laconic Bakula. “So then you try to squeeze in stuff” – ‘stuff’ such as moving from one house to another and running his first marathon, in San Diego. (For the record, he finished with a time of under four hours and 10 minutes – quite impressive for a 49-year-old in his inaugural race.)

So going from one long run to another – the fourth season of Enterprise – may be child’s play for Bakula. But nothing is child’s play when it comes to the deeply treacherous race that is prime-time television. The once-formidable franchise has seen better days. The jury was even out for a while on whether Enterprise would make it back onto the UPN schedule after the Xindi gamble of last season failed to deliver significant ratings gains. And even as Bakula admits that the show’s renewal was a last-minute decision, he maintains that he never had any fears that his Starfleet mission would be cut short after just three years.

“I have a good relationship with the head of Paramount Television, and we had a lot of talks about what was going on, and Rick [Berman] and Brannon [Braga] and I talk a lot about what Enterprise means to UPN, because it has meant a great deal to them business-wise,” says Bakula. “And at the same time, I knew that Les [Moonves, who heads both CBS and UPN] runs the show, and if Les says we’re gone, we’re gone. But, happily, he didn’t. So we get to go again, and they’re trying a lot of new things.”

New things such as a new night, Friday, which has become a wasteland of sorts on the TV landscape in recent years. Bakula, ever the optimist, prefers to see things differently, likening the situation to the last time the end of the week was the end of the world in small-screen parlance. “All of a sudden Miami Vice came, and it was kind of a hit, and people started making a point to get home to watch Miami Vice. ” Then there are the cuts in the budget, by some reports up to 35% from last season, that were part of the deal that saved Enterprise. Again, no panic in Bakula, who praises one of the consequences of the reduced money flow, the conversion from film to high-definition video. “It saves a great chunk of money every week,” he says. “HD is the wave of the future, so it’s just a question of time, and we’re getting very, very good quality.”

by Dave Waldon

Get the full interview when you buy
Starburst #315

Photo © UPN
Feature © Visual Imagination 2004. Not for reproduction

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