Although some fans are not liking the idea that they’ll have to pay a separate subscription to see the new Star Trek series in 2017, it appears CBS Corp. is looking to make its CBS All Access platform worth the fee.
Right now, the new Trek series under development by Alex Kurtzman is the only exclusive original programming CBS has planned for its streaming service, which costs a little less than $6 a month. But CBS Interactive chief executive Jim Lanzone says there could be more original programming on its way.
“Star Trek is the only scripted original that we have announced, but we’re obviously looking at whether it makes sense to do more,” Lanzone recently told Decider.com’s Scott Porch. “We have a dedicated audience online, and we’re looking at it as an opportunity. We think it’s a show that will match up really well with All Access’ audience.”
Of course, CBS is looking to the future on how people will like their content. Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, and to some extent Hulu, have shown that original programming can indeed exist off the television set. “House of Cards,” “Orange is the New Black” and “Transparent” have been huge hits for streaming services.
CBS is just making sure it isn’t left behind. And what better way for the company to make that big leap into a new media realm than with its biggest property?
But will other shows join the new Star Trek series once it debuts? Or will CBS make Trek its sole pilot program?
Using Star Trek as a launching pad is nothing new when it comes to entertainment. Paramount Pictures’ first attempts to start a new television network in the 1970s would have had “Star Trek: Phase II” as its flagship program. But the collapse of those plans, and the box office success of “Star Wars: A New Hope” in 1977, moved that work into what would become “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979 instead.
Later, when Paramount wanted to enter the new realm of first-run syndication, it did it with a revamped Star Trek series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation” in 1987. That success led to another first-run syndication show, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” in 1993.
Then, when Paramount finally did launch a television network in 1995, its flagship show was “Star Trek: Voyager.” That was successful enough to launch a second series on the channel, “Star Trek: Enterprise” in 2001.
So far, using Star Trek as a pilot has been successful not just for the studio in charge, but for Star Trek as well. And we’ll just have to wait and see if CBS’ attempt to put Star Trek out front is a huge success, or a dismal failure.