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'Star Trek' fan fund-raising ends

April 26, 2005|by Zap2it.com

Whenever "Star Trek" returns to television in the future, it probably won't be as a direct result of money raised by fans.

The latest campaign to keep the long-running sci-fi franchise on the air has given up its quest to fund a fifth season of UPN's "Star Trek: Enterprise" through donations from fans. The folks behind TrekUnited, which was both the leader of the campaign and an object of ridicule for some "Trek" fans, said last week that they'll start refunding money pledged to the effort.

"(D)espite the significant sum being offered to produce a fifth season ... ('Enterprise' producer) Paramount turned down the offer," a statement on TrekUnited's web site reads. "Paramount has reinforced its stance that it cannot and will not take money contributed by fans, even though TrekUnited became incorporated over one and a half months ago and technically any money offered would not have to be regarded any different than from a corporate sponsor."

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That phrase "cannot and will not take money contributed by fans" has been a sticking point for some fans of the franchise, who have been engaged in a running flame war with TrekUnited on several "Star Trek" message boards. The language echoes a letter sent from Paramount executive John Wentworth to TrekUnited head Tim Brazeal in March, which stated that UPN's decision to cancel the show was final.

The letter wasn't made public, however, until it was posted on Paramount's startrek.com site earlier this month. Its release caused Brazeal's doubters to accuse him of being less than upfront about the campaign's chances of success, or worse, that he was using the money for his own gain - a charge he has repeatedly denied.

The campaign raised more than $140,000 in fan contributions and received a pledge of $3 million from anonymous investors in the "space flight industry," according to TrekUnited.

"Enterprise" will end its four-year run on UPN with two episodes May 13.

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