CBS says it wants to do a lot of things differently when it comes to its new Star Trek series on CBS All Access. Not only in how the story is told and the characters who tell, but apparently also where the show is filmed.
For what would be the first time in Trek television history, the new series will not have filming based in Hollywood, but instead will take up residence 2,500 miles away — in Toronto.
Pop Goes the News reports CBS Corp. has booked studio space in the Canadian city beginning this September. That doesn’t necessarily mean filming starts in September as sets would have to be constructed, but it looks like Star Trek has finally joined many other shows looking to Canada to save money in production costs through the country’s tax incentives.
Showrunner Bryan Fuller and his writing team already have set up shop in Hollywood, but they won’t have to relocate. Many shows are written and produced in California despite being filmed elsewhere.
The website, which has operated on and off in Canada since 2007, didn’t cite a source, and CBS has not confirmed the information. Because of that, this news should be treated as any rumor would.
All previous Star Trek series, beginning with the original series in 1966, filmed in Hollywood, right up through “Enterprise,” which ended its run prematurely in 2005. Since then, especially with so many more television shows in production than ever before, long-term studio space has become a premium in and around Los Angeles, and studios also have been looking for ways to cut production costs, many times moving outside of California to take advantage of tax breaks.
Incentives in Toronto are administered by the Ontario Media Development Corp. which offers a more than 21 percent refundable tax credit on production expenditures in the province, whether it’s a Canadian-produced show or foreign. That’s on top of a 16 percent tax credit the federal government offers for eligible labor on service productions, according to the Toronto government’s city website.
CBS also could get some discounts in post-production, namely with visual effects, offering 18 percent discounts for labor on such work, as well as green screen.
To be eligible for the credits, the new Star Trek series will have to have a cost per-episode exceeding $200,000 Canadian, or $158,000 U.S. Considering episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” exceeded $1 million some 30 years ago, it’s safe to say CBS will be more than eligible to receive tax credits.
The cost savings for studios filming in Canada and other areas with tax incentives are quite extensive. For the new Star Trek series alone, it could easily equate to seven-figure savings in production costs per season.
Surprisingly, this wouldn’t be the first Roddenberry-inspired series to film in Toronto. “Earth: Final Conflict” filmed in Toronto over its five seasons. The other major non-Trek Roddenberry show in recent years, the Kevin Sorbo-starring “Andromeda,” filmed in Vancouver.