"Star Trek" shows are like salmon. There comes an hour when they know it's time to swim upstream. "Star Trek: Voyager" And so it has come to pass that "Star Trek: Voyager," the fourth spin-off of the "Trek" franchise, will swim upstream after next season, the UPN announced Monday. Like forerunners "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine," "Voyager" will end its voyage after seven seasons. (The original "Trek" was a short-timer, expiring on NBC after only three seasons. So, too, went the critically acclaimed 1973-74 animated series.)
UPN exec Tom Noonan is pledging "Voyager" will go out with "a surprising conclusion" and a "smashing finale," surely disappointing fans who were counting on "a really bad episode -- like that thing 'Seinfeld' did." In preparation for the farewell, a special two-hour episode will air in November.
"Voyager" made its debut on UPN's own premiere night on Jan. 16, 1995. The show was most notable for introducing the first female "Trek" captain (as played by Kate Mulgrew) and the first female "Trek" catsuit-wearer (as played by Jeri Ryan).
THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING: With the impending demise of "Voyager," talk about an all-new "Trek" series has heated up (again). UPN is said to be in talks with Paramount Pictures on how best to milk, er, continue the saga, but nothing concrete has emerged yet.
AFTERLIFE: Cable's Fox Family Channel has snapped up the rerun rights to the NBC hit drama "Providence." Look for old episodes to turn up there starting in September.
TAKE THAT, "ZOE, JACK AND WHOEVER": "The Steve Harvey Show" has been picked up for a fifth season by the WB. The comedy is the network's highest-rated sitcom.
ROCKS IN THEIR HEADS? Some 10.4 million people watched pro-wrestler The Rock host last weekend's edition of "Saturday Night Live." That was the best performance by the NBC show since another worthy host, Monica Lewinsky, did the honors last May.
CAN HARVEY KORMAN BE FAR BEHIND? Tim Conway ("The Carol Burnett Show") has joined the cast of Ellen DeGeneres' new comedy project for CBS.
CYBER WATCH: For those who can't get enough of Fox's "That '70s Show," a series of behind-the-scenes footage will be Webcast on Mondays, starting next week. Look for the 10-minute-long bits at www.that70sshow.com. The shows will unspool at 7:30 p.m. in the Eastern, Pacific and Central time zones.