(written from a Production point of view)
A family sits around a dinner table, and the mother calls for her son, Cam, before cracking a joke, setting off a round of canned laughter. Upstairs, a young man steps off a set, and out the door of "Stage 243." In the control room, Captain Kirk, Dr. McCoy, and Spock watch as the staff discover that the young man has left the set, calling him a "runner." Outside, a security guard calls out "You – stop!" and shoots the young man, killing him. The guard states that he was trying to break his contract, and Kirk points out that he was only 18 years old. The control room director with them, President Tinker, tells Kirk that the "young man beat out 20,000 applicants for this job. A job that fed his family, and gave him full voting rights."
On the news that evening, i-NEWS discusses Kirk's comments about Viden social policies, noting that the Enterprise had entered orbit about the planet a week before as part of a cultural exchange with the Federation. The newcaster also comments that the Trilateral Broadcasting Company's public approval rating fell 5 points.
At the company, Tinker tells Kirk that the other network is using the incident to alter the political landscape. Kirk points out that it isn't his problem that that he's seen everything he needs to in order. Three security guards pull guns on the trio as Tinker tells them that his audience wants to see more of them, and that he intends to deliver what they want.
On board the Enterprise, Uhura reports to Scott that she is unable to raise the away team on the communicators due to interference from the broadcasting satellites, but it appears that Kirk has been taken prisoner. Scotty tells her to keep trying, as Kirk's orders were that they stay put.
In their cell, McCoy flips through channels on the television as Kirk and Spock discuss their next move. They try to fool the guard by pretending that Kirk is sick, but he's seen the trick on television already. The guard then asks for Kirk's autograph, asking him to make it out for "Kren." As Kirk begins to write, Spock reaches from behind and uses the Vulcan nerve pinch to knock the guard out. Kirk changes into the guard's outfit, and they proceed to look for communicators. On their way, they realize that their escape is far too easy. They step through a door labeled "President of Programming" and are blinded by the light as they step onto the set of a talk show, the Dr. Marv Show.
Later, in Tinker's office, he tells them that their "escape" gave the highest ratings in two years. He also tells them that their rival network, Viden Broadcasting is developing a new series called "Eden 3", "a derivative drama about alien races trying to co-exist on a space station..." He then suggests that they do a television show with the Enterprise and her crew. Kirk tells them that he must contact his ship first. Tinker points out that the ship is out of touch due to the interference from the satellites, and Kirk signs the deal as a one-time event, telling them that he can't have the "crew tied up on a TV show for five years." Kirk contacts his ship and says "let the crew know, lieutenant... we're going to be famous."
On Stage 112, the crew of the Enterprise is showing their talents. While Spock is showing his talent playing water glasses, Uhura complains to Chekov about there being two musical acts in a row, as she is ready to show her ability with the Vulcan lute. At the same time, Sulu is practicing his fencing. Tinker approaches Kirk and inquires as to the status of things, but before Kirk is able to answer, Brandon, Tinker's assistant comes in and shows him the budget requested for the show. Tinker tells Kirk that it is absurd, but Kirk counters with the fact that he requires creative control, and the fee is no less than what the Federation receives on other planets. Brandon insists that they "can't sell enough ad time to make a profit." Kirk suggests an alternate plan.
That night on the news, it is announced that the Enterprise crew has signed a contract for a hidden camera show, and that explosives have been put into the cameras to destroy the ship if contact is broken.
Two weeks later, Kirk receives a communication from Tinker, asking why things have been so boring, and telling him that the ratings are plummeting. Kirk responds that they haven't encountered anything, and that "you can't expect us to manufacture drama... on this budget." Tinker threatens to blow up the ship, and at his end, his screen begins to go fuzzy with interference. As Uhura reports that they've lost the Viden's signal, Scotty informs the captain that he has managed to disable all of the explosives, and that things can get back to normal.
Back on Viden, President Brandon is presented with a new script for a show that can go five years affordably, and all be shot on the lot. "Starfleet Academy."
"You've got to see this, Jim. They have about a million channels on this thing."
"Eight thousand, seven hundred and forty-three, to be exact, Doctor&ndash"
- - McCoy and Spock, discussing the channels available on the television
"It is not logical, Ensign... why would I want to 'break a leg'?"
"It is an old Russian saying, Mr. Spock. It means 'good luck'."
- - Spock and Chekov
"I'm a doctor, damn it – not a magician."
- - McCoy, storming out of his act with Nurse Chapel
"By my calculations, the changing tastes of the audience would have resulted in cancellation in less than one Viden year –"
"Eighty-eight weeks. Approximately."
"It's a good thing we kept our day jobs, Mr. Spock."
- - Spock and Kirk, on their avoiding network television
- An image of a script for a show titled Starfleet Academy by Scott Tipton is seen in the final panel of the story.
- Ted Tinker and his assistant Brandon seem to be references to Grant Tinker, who is often known as "the man who saved NBC", and Brandon Tartikoff, another top programming executive at NBC who played a major role in the development of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- The issue sold an estimated 10,522 copies in comic specialty stores in October 2007.  These figures do not cover copies sold on the direct market (bookstores, etc.).
- Writer: David Tischman
- Editors: Dan Taylor and Andrew Steven Harris
- Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry
- Special thanks to Paula Block of CBS Consumer Products for her invaluable assistance.
- Canon characters listed below are linked to the main article about them. Non-canon characters are not linked, but those that recurred, appearing or being mentioned in more than one story, are defined further in IDW TOS characters.
- James T. Kirk
- Federation captain of the USS Enterprise.
- First officer of the USS Enterprise. He has a talent for playing musical water glasses.
- Leonard McCoy
- Medical officer of the USS Enterprise.
- Enterprise engineer.
- Pavel Chekov
- Enterprise security officer.
- Hikaru Sulu
- Enterprise helmsman.
- Enterprise communications officer. Plays the Vulcan lute.
- Ted Tinker
- President of the Trilateral Broadcasting Company.
- Assistant to Tinker. Later President of TBC after the Enterprise fiasco.
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