It’s been a big couple of weeks for the new small screen incarnation of Star Trek that has been announced by CBS. The minute I heard it, I, of course, giddy like a school kid. In case it isn’t evident, I am a bigger Trek fan than Star Wars, so having a regular series on TV again is a big deal for me. Even though I didn’t love every TV series (never really fell hard for Deep Space Nine or Enterprise) it was always nice to know they were there.
The most recent announcement came from Les Moonves, head of CBS, while speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference (huh?). Moonves announced that the release date for the series would be delayed. Apparently, when Paramount and CBS split in 2006, Paramount got the movie rights in the divorce, and CBS retained custody of any TV productions. King Solomon cutting the kid in half.
Like in most things Hollywood, however, the movie side of the business takes precedent. (I may have just mentioned that in my piece about Marvel’s sort of shared universe.…. consider me grumpy over this). So, the deal between Paramount and CBS says that little TV brother has to wait a full 6 months after the release of a movie, like for example Star Trek Beyond, which is scheduled for release on July 22, 2016, before releasing a TV series. Moonves said…
“Our deal with them is that we had to wait six months after their film is launched so there wouldn’t be confusion in the marketplace.”
Um….huh? There’s confusion in the marketplace alright, but it isn’t over two Star Trek projects running at the same time. The confusion is over CBS’s terrible decision to put the show behind a proprietary pay wall. I understand the decision from a marketing standpoint. Put something big there, and people will come pay for it. Except, that when we are already paying for Netflix at $8 per month, and Amazon Prime at $99 per year ($8.25 per month) and Hulu $8 per month. Some of us are sports fans and pay $200 for NFL Sunday Ticket Stream ($16.50 per month) and/or MLB for $85 per year ($7 per month) and/or NHL single team streaming for about $16 per month and/or NBA single team streaming for about $10 per month. Then if you are a Game of Thrones fan, you add your HBO online access for $15 per month. It really starts to add up. CBS trying to get their piece of the monthly subscription pie may backfire domestically. When they made the announcement that Trek would be pay to trek only, the subscriptions came predominantly from overseas. I am skeptical about the big networks getting into the subscription game. At some point people are going to stop paying for a whole bunch of monthly subscriptions.
In other Trek news over the past month, CBS announced two big hires for the series. Bryan Fuller was named showrunner and executive producer. Fuller is co-creating the series for CBS with Trek alum, Alex Kurtzman, who served as EP for the first of the Chris Pine reboot movies and producer for “Into The Darkness”and Heather Kadin, whose most recent credit include the executive producing the TV shows “Scorpion” and “Limitless”.
Even more recently, CBS announced that Rod Roddenberry, son of Star Trek founder Gene Roddenberry will also join the leadership team on the show. Of his new role on the show, Roddenberry the younger said…
“While I will always be humbled by its legacy and the legions of fans who are its guardians, it’s a genuine honor to be joining a team of imaginative and incredibly capable individuals whose endeavor it is to uphold the tenets of Star Trek’s legacy while bringing it to audiences in a new era and on a contemporary platform.”
In all of the hoopla about the show thus far, the project is being called a “reboot”, although no further details have been offered. That term has taken on different meanings. In the recent returns of Heroes and X-Files, those shows were not as much reboots, which I take to mean starting over in the same place with new people, as they were continuations. I am assuming (and hoping) from the way vague way that people are talking that this will be a new Star Trek property, with new characters and a new ship, set in the Star Fleet universe. That remains to be seen.
Back to the original point that it will be too bad if the show fizzles because it is hidden behind another monthly subscription services. There’s a certain irony that Star Trek has always been about a world that has gone beyond our money for everything society, and it might be the money for everything that kills this show. If the show flubs, how long would it be before CBS tried again? I’m guessing quite awhile.
What do you think? Will you pay for a monthly subscription service in order to see a new Trek series? Do you hope that it is a new show about new characters and a new ship, or do you want another incarnation of the Enterprise? Leave me your thoughts in the comments below.