'Star Trek: Discovery' Budget Revealed

Like any project set in the vastness of space, Star Trek: Discovery is big. The starships, the soundstages the series if filmed on, and even fan expectations are all super-sized. That's why it's not a surprise that the budget for the upcoming series is big, too.

A Variety cover story on the latest Star Trek franchise revealed just how much each episode of the series costs to make — between $8 and $8.5 million, making the show one of the most expensive in television history.

It's a massive budget to work with for a television show and Michelle Yeoh, who plays Captain Philippa Georgiou in the series, said that the budget and scale of the project made making the pilot unlike anything in television.

"It was like shooting a movie, the scale of it," Yeoh said. "It wasn't just 'Quick, let's get the shot. Move, move.'"

While other shows with similarly large budgets have proven successful, such as HBO's Westworld, Discovery is a risky venture for CBS. With the exception of a "preview broadcast" of the first episode, the show will air exclusively on the CBS All Access subscription service. This means that the expensive series might reach fewer than 2 million U.S. viewers, a number considerably lower than a broadcast release would reach.

For now, though, CBS CEO Les Moonves is the only person executive producer Aaron Harberts is worried about reaching.

"Our metric right now is Les Moonves saying, 'I've watched the first six episodes, and I love them," Harberts said. "That's the metric at the moment."


Set 10 years prior to the five-year mission of the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Original Series, Star Trek: Discovery follows the adventures of Starfleet on their missions to discover new worlds and new lifeforms, and one Starfleet officer who must learn that to truly understand all things alien, you must first understand yourself. The series will feature a new ship, new characters, and new missions while embracing the same ideology and hope for the future that inspired a generation of dreamers and doers.

Star Trek: Discovery will debut on Sept. 24.