CBS has licensed Star Trek: Discovery to Channel 4 in the United Kingdom for broadcast television on E4. The show had previously been airing in the United Kingdom exclusively on Netflix.
This will mark the first time since Star Trek: Enterprise that a Star Trek series has aired on broadcast TV.
The licensing agreement sees Channel 4 acquire the linear television rights for Star Trek: Discovery, meaning the traditional setup where the show is broadcast at a certain time rather than being available to watch at any time like on Netflix.
Den of Geek reports, Netflix still “continues to hold the rights to release each episode of Discovery within 24 hours of its debut over in the US.”
The deal to license Star Trek: Discovery appears to be part of a package deal with Channel 4 as they will also be licensing Man with a Plan starring Matt LeBlanc that will also premiere on E4 as well.
Barry Chamberlain, the President of Sales at CBS Studios International said in a statement:
“We’re excited to bring the linear television rights for Star Trek: Discovery to the international market and launch in the UK with our valued friends at Channel 4.”
Chamberlain also noted in his statement that this isn’t the first time that both companies have inked licensing deals. Channel 4 has also licensed The Good Fight and Charmed from the studio:
“This agreement features the best of both worlds — premium subscription content from a global franchise and a very popular network comedy from America’s Most-Watched Network. Channel 4 is already a licensee for several of our top-rated franchises, including The Good Fight and Charmed, and we are confident they will have continued success with Star Trek: Discovery and Man With A Plan.”
Our source tells us that Netflix actually ceded their international rights in order to allow the deal between Channel 4 and CBS to go through. They tell us that CBS and Netflix are currently in arbitration and CBS’ deal with Channel 4 lowers the cost expectation for Netflix.
This deals comes a few months after Star Trek: Discovery was renewed for a third season. It is currently still filming.
Dark Waters for Star Trek: Discovery
The skies haven’t been all-clear for the Alex Kurtzman produced the show.
Drama behind the scenes has plagued the series even before principal filming began. First Bryan Fuller, the original creator, was fired before the first season was released.
He would tell EW, “I got to dream big.” He added, “I was sad for a week and then I salute the ship and compartmentalize my experience.”
Upon seeing the trailer for the first season, he told them, “What I can say is…my reaction was that I was happy to see a black woman and an Asian woman in command of a Starship.”
Fuller was replaced by Aaron Harberts and Gretchen J. Berg as showrunners. They were subsequently fired due to claims of staff mistreatment.
They would then promote Michelle Paradise to showrunner. She had previously served as a writer on the second season.
However, the drama continued. Writer Walter Mosley defiantly quit the show after he was “chastised” by Human Resources for using the N-word while telling a story in the writer’s room.
The show has also been accused of stealing ideas from a point and click game created by Anas Abdin. While Abdin lost his original lawsuit, he is currently raising funds via a GoFundMe for an appeal.
Not only has the show faced troubles within its own production and accusations of stealing ideas, but the show also doesn’t appear to be garnering a significant amount of viewers.
Neither CBS All Access nor Netflix release viewer information based on shows.
However, Google Trends charts show that both Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Orville perform better than Star Trek: Discovery.
But with the new deal with Channel 4, Star Trek: Discovery ratings in the United Kingdom might actually be made public as the channel routinely releases ratings for their programming.
Our readers in the UK will begin seeing Star Trek: Discovery on E4 in 2020.