(written from a Production point of view)
Douglas S. Cramer (22 August 1931 – 7 June 2021; age 89) was a television producer who worked as a studio executive on behalf of Paramount Television, replacing Herbert F. Solow of Desilu, on the third season of Star Trek.
Brought in upon the conclusion of the second season in 1968 of The Original Series as the successor of Solow, who had decided to leave as he felt increasingly dissatisfied with the more businesslike approach Gulf+Western financial executives wanted to impose on the production of the television series he was responsible for, including Star Trek – in practice resulting in ever increasing budget cuts and near obligatory creative entitlement – he took over the position of "Vice-President of Programs Paramount Television", as Desilu Studios became known after its acquirement by Gulf+Western the year previously. Yet, as Solow had clarified, Cramer steered clear from his primary responsibility, being his involvement with the Star Trek series, as it was under cancellation advisement due to the ownership transition from Desilu to Paramount. Cramer, as Solow had put it, was "[...] hired to develop new programs for Paramount, not play nursemaid to someone else's apparently unsuccessful series." (Inside Star Trek: The Real Story, p. 370) Any decision regarding the series was passed along to his immediate superior, Paramount Television President John T. Reynolds. Still, according to Marc Cushman's These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three [page number? • edit], Cramer was persistent on proving to his superiors that he was in charge, and that his set of rules should be accepted and followed by the production staff of every series under his reign. The firing of director Ralph Senensky halfway throughout filming "The Tholian Web" was Cramer's way of demonstrating this. Since he couldn't fire producer Fred Freiberger or associate producer Gregg Peters who both were "on staff", Cramer forced Freiberger to remove the director for going over schedule.
Per Hollywood union regulations, studio executives are formally not entitled to official production credits, as they, as overhead, are not supposed to be involved with the actual creative aspects of productions, they being the purview of producers as highest actual operation managers. Considering his near complete non-involvement with Star Trek, it is therefore all the more ironical that Cramer held the very rare distinction – together with his predecessors Bill Heath, Solow, the latter of which having been very much involved, and Star Trek: The Motion Picture's Lindsley Parsons, Jr. – of becoming one of only four Star Trek-affiliated studio executives actually receiving one, that of "Executive (Vice President) in Charge of Production", displayed in the middle two cases on the penultimate end title credit card of each regular series episode, whereas Heath held the official credit of "Post Production Executive".
Career outside Star Trek
His reluctance to be engaged in Star Trek notwithstanding, Cramer has actually been one of the most successful producers in American television history. He is probably most well-known for the weekly soap opera Dynasty, on which he worked as executive producer (along with Aaron Spelling), and which starred Joan Collins. He also produced its short-lived spin-off, The Colbys, starring Ricardo Montalban, Stephanie Beacham, and Tracy Scoggins.
After earning a Master's degree at Columbia University, Cramer began his career in advertising as a commercial executive for such companies as Procter & Gamble, Lever Brothers and General Foods. His career took a great jump when he became a television executive in the 1960s, during which serving as a Vice President at Fox, head of programming of ABC and subsequently as head of Paramount Television, in which capacity he, contrary to Star Trek, did work on the other two former Desilu productions, Mission: Impossible and Mannix. Unlike Star Trek these series were never considered for cancellation by either the studio or the networks, as they were perceived as highly successful and in the end they ran for seven and eight seasons respectively.
After leaving these jobs, Cramer switched career gears, turning into a television maker by becoming an independent television producer in 1971, forming his own production company, "Douglas S. Cramer Company" and producing the multiple Emmy Award-winning 1974 mini series QB VII, which featured Michael Gough in the cast, narration by Mark Lenard, and music by Jerry Goldsmith. In 1976 he joined Spelling's production company, for whom he worked, aside from the above-mentioned series, on television productions such as The New Adventures of Wonder Woman, The Love Boat and Hotel. He also produced a number of successful telefilms, including a series of adaptations from the works of bestseller author Danielle Steele, and Family of Cops and its two sequels (the last one featuring Nicole de Boer). Cramer personally has been nominated for an Emmy Award twice, both in "Outstanding Drama" categories, a 1974 one for QB VII and a 1982 one for Dynasty.
In later years, Cramer worked as a successful Broadway producer and is known as an avid contemporary modern art collector, having been a (co-)founder and Chairman of the Board of the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art and the Douglas S. Cramer Foundation, concurrently having donated a multitude of modern art works to numerous museums.