How 'Star Trek: Discovery' Would Be Different on Network Television

Since practically the moment it was announced that Star Trek: Discovery would be released via the CBS All Access streaming service some Star Trek fans have taken exception to the fact that is would not be freely broadcast on network television like all five previous Star Trek television series.

Star Trek: Discovery has leveraged the fact that it is a streaming service series to break some new ground for Star Trek. Now CBS CEO Leslie Moonves has offered an idea of how Star Trek: Discovery would be different if it did land on CBS’ broadcast network instead of CBS All Access.

During a presentation at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, Moonves explained what CBS All Access does that CBS tries to avoid (via Trek Movie).

Star Trek could have gone on CBS, it could have gone on Showtime, it could have gone directly to Netflix instead of just international, for a lot of money,” Moonves said. "There is a distinction. The Good Fight is a spin-off of a successful CBS show. It is sort of differenton All Access, they can be serialized. On CBS we try to avoid that generally. Network television generally works better when it is not serialized.”

This notion is surely going to divide fans. There are many who wish that Star Trek: Discovery had continued Star Trek’s long-standing tradition of mostly self-contained episodic adventures and morality plays. Others appreciate Star Trek: Discovery breaking the Star Trek mold by presenting a fully-serialized, season-long story arc.

That’s not the only way that Star Trek: Discovery is different on streaming. Surely if the series has been on CBS then Cadet Tilly would not have been able to drop the Star Trek franchise’s first F-bomb.

Moonves explained this during the same presentation that he explained why Star Trek: Discovery isn’t available on Netflix in North America.

“We could have sold it to Netflix for a lot more money, but you can be darn sure All Access wouldn’t be doing as well,” he said. “For All Access, obviously we are starting a new pay service, and we were offering our existing series and catch-up on current seasons and old seasons, but it was important to have original content. And what better way to get people to pay for the first time than offering Star Trek? It is a built-in fanbase that was pretty emphatic and not averse to paying for what they are getting.”


For those still yearning for the old episodic flavor of Star Trek, The Orville is carrying that torch and will return for a second season in late 2018.

Star Trek: Discovery begins shooting its second season in Toronto this April.