Yes this year is the 40th anniversary of the tv show Star Trek. It is widely known that Star Trek almost didn't make it. First when the pilot film was made it didn't have the backing of the network heads. But rumor has it that at least one of them did like it because made him feel like he had been on a spaceship. It got on the air but negoations for further episodes with the star, Jeff Hunter playing Captain Pike, fell through. They had to get another star fast but would the show work with another actor? As we all know it did when they got William Shatner. However, the audience wasn't there at first. After it's first season Star Trek was on there verge of being canceled. Word leaked out and fans wrote in and the network kept the show on. SInce then other shows have been almost canceled. Some were saved by the fans writing in. Shows like Cagney and Lacy and Remington Steele. Would this work today? I doubt it. Most of the letters would come in by e-mail today and I think that would be seen as too easy to sit down and type a letter and hit the send button. However, if you sat doown and wrote one on paper and mailed it by regular mail that is viewed as taking an effort. So if you want to save a show write the letter by hand.
To help the show build a teenage audience NBC looked to another show they had on that had a huge fan of teenage girls. That show was The Monkees. Walter Koenig at the time looked alittle like Davy Jones and was given a Beatles wig, at least in his first few showings, so he would look even more like Mr. Jones. Thus was born the character Chekov. I don't know how much this helped build the audience but it got Walter a job and his character enriched the show. Later the show was canceled despite another write in campaign. After 3 years the show was canceled and forgotten by NBC. But the fans never forget.
The show started running in syndication in the 1970's and the fan base grew. Conventions were started with many of the stars as guest. Magazines like the one above started being published.
Eventually it spun off it's first series 18 years after the show was canceled. Eventually it spun off not only 4 new tv shows but also 10 movies. It also spun off a cartoon series and countless comic books and science fiction novels. They don't have as many conventions as they use to. It seemed like for awhile there was no city that didn't have at least one Star Trek Convention. Creation Entertainment still puts on Trek Conventions and has bridged out to do cons on other hit shows like Lost and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So Star Trek has created an entire industry. Not bad for a show that was almost canceled after it's first season.