To the inquiry about TV contracts...when an actor gets a contract on
a show, it's not a guarantee of anything; it's all one season at a time.
ALL TV series are like this: you (the producer/studio) have an OPTION on
the actor, by contract. Meaning you own the actor for that period of time
AT YOUR DISCRETION. In other words, if you're renewed for a given season,
you have the option of hiring (or not hiring) the actor back for the
next season. The actor does *not* have the option. If you then hire the
actor, it's pay-or-play for that season, meaning if you decide to let the
actor go mid-season, you must still pay him for the balance of episodes
So an actor's contract is not a guarantee of *anything*.
As for the budget on the two-parter...DS9's ratings have been on a
steady decline for the last several seasons, according to the trades and
newspaper articles. Paramount sells advertising based on the ratings; if
they drop below the promised level, they have to start giving money back
to the advertisers (not a good thing). So regardless of a series
projected duration, they *must* start improving the ratings...hence you
spend a little more up front, grab some ratings, give the show a boost,
and maybe make it up here and there later in other shows, or simply write
off the additional shooting costs against the benefit of not giving money
back to advertisers.
No judgment here, no predictions, just answering the questions that
came up about how things work in TV.