Streaming… the final frontier. Ever since Alex Kurtzman and Bob Orci, key players on the Star Trek feature franchise, moved to CBS TV Studios, there had been talk about them resurrecting the studio’s marquee title. Now the long-rumored new Star Trek TV series has become a reality as the first original series on CBS’ recently launched streaming service CBS All Access. Shepherded by Kurtzman, who will serve as executive producer, the series will premiere in January 2017 with a preview broadcast on CBS followed by an exclusive run in the U.S. on CBS All Access.
Unlike the ongoing feature franchise, which features the classic Star Trek characters, the new series installment will introduce new characters “seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilizations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966″, according to CBS. (I hear because the films are employing the original Star Trek characters they were not available for a TV series.) Kurtzman had quietly been meeting with potential writers for the past few months. CBS Television Studios is the studio. Its sibling, CBS Studios International, will distribute the series for runs on television and multiple platforms around the world.
“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, 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 and Orci have gone their separate ways in features. On the TV side, their company, CBS TV Studios-based Kurtzman/Orci Paper Products, is still intact though Kurtzman is expected to work solo on the Star Trek series as one of the projects under a separate deal with the studio through his Secret Hideout banner. He will executive produce the new Star Trek with K/O’s Heather Kadin.
CBS Corp. had been high on rebooting Star Trek with a new series installment, which had been a priority. The move is clearly designed to boost the company’s upstart streaming platform, CBS All Access. Sony Pictures TV similarly helped usher original programming on sibling Playstation digital platform with the Powers drama series.
The new Star Trek series will run concurrently with the feature franchise. The show is not related to the upcoming installment Star Trek Beyond, which is scheduled to be distributed by Paramount Pictures in summer 2016.
Star Trek, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2016, is one of the most successful entertainment franchises of all time. The groundbreaking original series, created by Gene Roddenberry, spawned a dozen feature films and five TV series. Almost half a century later, the Star Trek series are licensed on a variety of different platforms in more than 190 countries, and the franchise still generates more than a billion social media impressions every month.