Nearly 30 years after “Star Trek: The Next Generation” broke new ground in television distribution by going to first-run syndication, a brand new Star Trek television series will try it again … this time on the subscription-based CBS All Access.
CBS Television Studios, which controls the television rights to the franchise, says it’s working with “Star Trek” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness” co-writer Alex Kurtzman to develop a new Star Trek series for television, set to launch in January 2017. While this might suggest a tie-in to the film franchise, StarTrek.com reported that it would not be related to the upcoming “Star Trek: Beyond,” due to be released next year.
That, however, implies it could still be related to the first two films Kurtzman was involved with, and could show some unity between the two sides of the Star Trek franchise controlled by CBS and Paramount after the Viacom breakup of nearly a decade ago.
While CBS plans to air the pilot in January 2017 on its popular network, it will provide later episodes through CBS All Access, the online Netflix competitor that currently charges $6 a month for access to current and past shows in the CBS lineup. CBS All Access already offers past episodes in the various Star Trek television series, but unlike its Netflix competitor, still places ads.
This would be the first time a television-based version of the show would be produced since “Star Trek: Enterprise” was officially canceled in 2005. There have been other attempts to pitch stories in the past decade, but none has come to fruition.
Kurtzman has a strong involvement in the successful Star Trek film franchise, although he opted out of participating in the upcoming “Beyond.” He also has an extensive television resume that includes successful reboots of shows like “Hawaii Five-0” and the television version of “Limitless.”
He’s been nominated for two Hugo awards (for “Star Trek” and the Fox series “Fringe”), and won a Daytime Emmy for the animated series “Transformers Prime.” He’s also won a Razzie — the “anti-award” for films — for “worst screenplay” for “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.”
“There is no better time to give Star Trek fans a new series than on the heels of the original show’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said CBS Television President David Stapf in a release. “Everyone here has great respect for this storied franchise, and we’re excited to launch its next television chapter in the creative mind and skilled hands of Alex Kurtzman, someone who knows this world and its audience intimately.”
This would be the sixth Star Trek television series to be produced. The original “Star Trek” premiered on NBC in 1966, and was followed by “Star Trek: The Animated Series” in the early 1970s.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” premiered in first-run syndication in 1987, followed by “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” on the same platform in 1992.
“Star Trek: Voyager” premiered on what was then UPN in 1995 following the run of TNG, and was followed in 2001 by “Star Trek: Enterprise.”
While the original “Star Trek” was canceled after three seasons, the other live-action series of TNG, DS9 and VOY enjoyed seven-year runs; “Enterprise” was canceled after its fourth season.