When CBS announced they were working on a new Star Trek series, fans of the beloved sci-fi franchise were excited but also wary. A contemporary show is something which Star Trek fans have clamored over for years, but there was a lingering concern about the direction of Star Trek: Discovery. The franchise has become mainstream over the past decade in part by J.J. Abrams and his theatrical reboot, but CBS felt like the show would flounder on cable and decided to stream it online through their paid streaming service.
If you were wondering why the network made the choice, then you don’t have to guess any longer. CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone commented on the decision during a recent interview with Recode Media, and he said the sci-fi series wouldn’t cut it on cable.
“Sci-fi is not something that has traditionally done really well on broadcast,” Lanzone explained. “It’s not impossible, for the future, if somebody figures it out. But historically, a show like ‘Star Trek’ wouldn’t necessarily be a broadcast show, at this point.”
Of course, Trekkies have been quick to take offense at the statement. When Star Trek is done right, the series is about philosophical musings, deep-space aliens, and more. Today, a well-made Star Trek show could do wonders for the space genre on cable, but it seems as if CBS isn’t willing to take the risk. And, if the network does stream Star Trek: Discovery online, then it can market its burgeoning CBS All Access site.
So far, more than one million users have subscribed to the paid site and shell out $6 a month to watch exclusive content from the network. Star Trek: Discovery will be one of the site’s flasgship series when it debuts next year alongside a spin-off of The Good Wife.
Fans have been reluctant to embrace CBS and its paid-streaming plans, and Trekkies are particularly adverse to the proposition. However, those fans have admitted they are excited to see what content Star Trek: Discovery can include since it’s not on cable. The series won’t be held to the FCC’s broadcast rules, so nudity and swearing can be put on the table.
“The showrunners were like ‘Oh yeah, we could do that,’” Lanzone recounted. “Of course, the response is, ‘As long as it serves the story.’ But yeah!”
However, fans are a little less excited about the series than they were when it was first announced. Last month, showrunner Bryan Fuller he was exiting Star Trek: Discovery due to schedule conflicts. Fuller, who has worked on previous series like Deep Space Nine and Voyager, was a major selling point of the new show. His loss was felt intensely by fans who already felt skeptical of the series, by Fuller has said he’s still excited to watch Star Trek: Discovery boldly go to new places.
“We are extremely happy with the creative direction of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and the strong foundation that Bryan Fuller has helped us create for the series,” said CBS Television Studios in a statement. “Due to Bryan’s other projects, he is no longer able to oversee the day-to-day of ‘Star Trek,’ but he remains an executive producer, and will continue to map out the story arc for the entire season…Bryan is a brilliant creative talent and passionate ‘Star Trek’ fan, who has helped us chart an exciting course for the series. We are all committed to seeing this vision through and look forward to premiering ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ this coming May 2017.”
We do not yet have a premiere date, but expect Star Trek: Discovery to premiere on CBS All Access in May 2017 following a minor delay.
[H/T] Recode Media