Leonard Nimoy’s iconic portrayal of Spock has been of pop-cultural significance for the fans of Star Trek. No wonder The Big Bang Theory’s nerds have uttered Spock’s name on several episodes of the Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady’s show. But Nimoy almost got fired from the NBC show as the showrunners were trying to save money.
Certainly, it’s weird to think of Star Trek without Spock and Nimoy’s portrayal of the Vulcan character has been astounding but Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz’s production company, Desilu that made the series for NBC wanted Nimoy out as his salary was too high. Yet, it was not like Steve Carell’s The Office contract, another popular NBC show.
Star Trek Wanted Leonard Nimoy Out of the Show
Good luck imagining Star Trek without Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner. Of course, Shatner didn’t have as much trouble with the studio as Nimoy did. As per the early reports, Desilu was against increasing the budget for the second season of the series as Nimoy was trying to renegotiate the contract to increase his salary. The studio initially wanted to cancel the show and even if they continued, they would go without the Spock actor. However, later in a conflicting shadow of ideals, NBC fought for Nimoy to keep him on the show. “They almost didn’t have Spock for the second season of Star Trek,” author of several notable Star Trek and the expert on the show, Marc Cushman said (via SlashFilm).
“The fan mail got so intense during the first year, sacks and sacks of mail every day. His agent said, ‘He’s getting only $1,250 a week and he needs a raise.’ But Desilu is losing money on the show and the board of directors was thinking of canceling it, even if NBC wanted to continue, because it was bankrupting the studio. The one that broke the stalemate was the one that didn’t want Spock in the first place: NBC. ‘You are not doing the show without that guy. Pay him whatever you need to pay him.'”
Eventually, it was a win-win for Nimoy, he got his raise and continued playing the character. Interestingly, Nimoy made 112 appearances as Spock, between 1964 and 2013, perhaps the longest any actor ever playing a character.
NBC Had A Different Approach to Steve Carell
Steve Carell’s The Office is regarded as one of the funniest shows on the planet Earth. Based on Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant’s UK version of the series of the same name, the Carell-starrer series had a good run extending to the 9th season with 201 episodes. However, Carell never intended to leave the show but the battle with NBC forced the actor to depart from the sitcom. “He didn’t want to leave the show,” hairstylist Kim Ferry revealed (via Collider).
“He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years. He was willing to and his agent was willing to. But for some reason, they didn’t contact him. I don’t know if it was a game of chicken or what… He planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract for a couple years. So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. And the deadline came for when they were supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’ Which was insane to me. And to him, I think.”
NBC never approached Carell again and it was devastating for the crew members, Ferry added saying that he was the heart of the show. Recently, the news of The Office reboot has dominated several headlines, however, there is no solid official confirmation as of yet.