Sunday 13 March 2016

Trek TV updates: Roddenberry to produce, and CBS plans

A few more titbits about the new Star Trek TV series have been revealed recently. The latest announcement, via, is that Roddenberry Entertainment will be joining the production, with Eugene "Rod" Roddenberry and Trevor Roth signing on as the latest producers. Rod is of course of the son of Star Trek's creator Gene Roddenberry, as well as being president of Roddenberry Entertainment, and is perhaps best known as the producer and star of the Star Trek fandom documentary Trek Nation. He also has a writing credit to his name, for an episode of Earth: Final Conflict. Trevor Roth meanwhile is the COO of Roddenberry Entertainment, and also produced Trek Nation. Roddenberry had this to say on his new role:
Moral dilemmas, human issues, complex characters, and a genuine sense of optimism: These are the cornerstones of Star Trek and are what have made it such an influential and beloved franchise for the last 50 years. While I will always be humbled by its legacy and the legions of fans who are its guardians, it’s a genuine honor to be joining a team of imaginative and incredibly capable individuals whose endeavor it is to uphold the tenets of Star Trek’s legacy while bringing it to audiences in a new era and on a contemporary platform. 
While showrunner Bryan Fuller seems pleased to have a Roddenberry on board:
Gene Roddenberry, the Great Bird of the Galaxy, left a finely feathered nest for all who love Star Trek to enjoy,” Bryan Fuller said in a statement. “And it is only fitting that Rod Roddenberry and Roddenberry Entertainment join our new Trek adventure to ensure that his father’s legacy of hope for the future and infinite diversity in infinite combinations runs through our tales as Gene Roddenberry intended.”
With Fuller, Roddenberry and Roth join a host of producers for the new series, which also includes TOS movie era writer and director Nicholas Meyer, nuTrek writer Alex Kurtzman, and new to Trek but experience TV producer Heather Kadin. Apart from Fuller's role steering the series, the extent of the involvement of the other producers isn't really clear; some of them might be there more in spirit, or they might all be in the thick of it.

In other news form the series, CBS president Les Moonves has had a few interesting comments at recent conferences.  Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom Conference, he revealed some of the elusive details of the CBS/Paramount split ownership of Star Trek, which apparently stipulates, that the TV series must wait six months after the release of Star Trek Beyond to avoid conflicting Star Trek in the market:
When [CBS] split from Viacom ten years ago, January 1, 2006, one of the big sticking points, as you can imagine, was "Star Trek." You know, we both wanted it.

They said "It's a movie!" and I said, "No, no, no, it's a TV show." Actually, we're both right. So they kept the feature film rights, we kept the television rights; they have ["Star Trek Beyond"] coming out July 22.

Our deal with them is that we had to wait six months after their film is launched so there wouldn't be a confusion in the marketplace.
Star Trek has apparently been quite in demand from streaming services, which is what pushed CBS to use it to build up their own service, at another conference, the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, Moonves noted:
Obviously, a lot of conversation went into [selling to another service], and Star Trek is the family jewel. Paramount owns the film rights, but we retain the television rights.

So we said, we have this property, a very important property... Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, they all offered us a lot of money. They all wanted it very badly.
International interest has also apparently been strong:
The international marketplace, without seeing a word on paper or anything at all, the numbers internationally are astronomical. So that covers about sixty percent of the cost of production right there, before we even begin.
We still don't know any details of the international distribution, but the implication certainly seems to be that it will be picked up in a lot of markets. While the series' route to market in the US is to be exclusively via the CBS All Access on demand platform, I would speculate that other markets will see it picked up like any other imported TV series, and broadcast on usual networks, as well as being available via various streaming services where CBS All Access isn't an option (which is everywhere no in the US). The series, of as yet unknown setting, is due to start early next year.

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