Producer Alex Kurtzman is developing a new “Star Trek” TV series, setting it at warp speed to debut on CBS in January 2017.
The premiere episode and all subsequent first-run episodes will then be available exclusively in the U.S. on CBS’ All Access digital subscription service. This would be the first original series to launch on a broadcast network but air primarily on an SVOD service.
Kurtzman is exec producing via a deal with CBS Television Studios. The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios in association with Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout banner. Kurtzman and Heather Kadin will serve as executive producers under a deal that is separate from the overall deal that Kurtzman has with partner Roberto Orci’s K/O Paper Products. They are now shopping for a writer.
The launch strategy is meant to capitalize on “Star Trek’s” ardent OTT fanbase, presumably resulting in the growth of All Access while also creating a unique universe for “Star Trek” fans.
“This new series will premiere to the national CBS audience, then boldly go where no first-run ‘Star Trek’ series has gone before – directly to its millions of fans through CBS All Access,” said Marc DeBevoise, exec VP and g.m. of CBS Digital Media. “We’ve experienced terrific growth for CBS All Access, expanding the service across affiliates and devices in a very short time. We now have an incredible opportunity to accelerate this growth with the iconic ‘Star Trek,’ and its devoted and passionate fan base, as our first original series.”
The latest iteration of “Star Trek” on TV is set to launch on the heels of the 50th anniversary of the original series premiere on Sept. 8, 1966, led by stars William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley. Created by Gene Roddenberry and produced by Lucille Ball’s Desilu Productions, “Star Trek” ran for three seasons on NBC but famously became far more popular in syndicated reruns than it ever was in its original primetime run.
By 1979, the franchise was revived as a series of feature films produced by Paramount, and as a first-run syndicated series, “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” which ran from 1987-1994. “Next Generation” begat another syndicated spinoff, “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” (1993-1999) while the erstwhile UPN network was home to two more spinoffs, “Star Trek: Voyager” (1995-2001) and “Star Trek: Enterprise” (2001-2005).
CBS controls the TV side of the “Trek” universe through its ownership of the Paramount TV library. Paramount acquired full control of Desilu in 1967.
“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 David Stapf, president of CBS Television Studios. “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.”
Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the films “Star Trek” (2009) with Orci, and “Star Trek Into Darkness” (2013) with Orci and Damon Lindelof. The new television series is not related to the upcoming feature film “Star Trek Beyond,” which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016 and is written by Doug Jung and Simon Pegg.