Rumored CBS and Viacom Merger Would Reunite 'Star Trek' Rights

The entire Star Trek franchise may soon be back under one roof.

Viacom Corporation and CBS Corporation are looking to merge, according to The Wrap.

Shari Redstone, the vice-chairwoman of both Viacom and CBS, is driving the process.

A source close to CBS chairman Les Moonves told The Wrap, "He's having active discussions with Shari and the board on a wide variety of issues all the time, including this one. And those discussions continue with regard to looking to merge the two companies."

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures. It is the former parent company of CBS. Viacom spun CBS off as an independent entity in 2005.

The split had major effects on the Star Trek franchise. Paramount Pictures maintained the rights to the films. That included the rights to make more movies. CBS maintained the television rights, future television rights, and licensing rights.

As fans saw it, this split came as Star Trek: Enterprise ended. There was no new Star Trek until 2009. That's when Paramount launched its movie reboot of the franchise with JJ Abrams. Those films were the first made independent of a television counterpart.

The Wrap's report states the companies believe they need a "bigger footprint" to survive. This is the same conclusion that led 21st Century Fox to merge with Disney.

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While a CBS-Viacom merger would not have as drastic implications for Star Trek as the Fox deal has for Marvel. However, it would allow for greater synergy between all corners of the Star Trek franchise. This could even lead to the birth of a shared movie-TV Star Trek universe on the scale of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. At the very least, this could help determine the future of the Star Trek film franchise. The series seems to have stalled out between Star Trek Beyond and Star Trek 4, though a concept proposed by director Quentin Tarantino is currently in development.

Meanwhile, in 2017 CBS launched its first Star Trek television series in over a decade. Star Trek: Discovery series has driven record sign-ups to the CBS All Access platform. The series streams globally through Netflix. Discovery presents Star Trek as premium TV, with a high budget and serialized plot.