ViacomCBS provided a major update on the future of their Star Trek Franchise.
They recently confirmed that a Star Trek feature film is in development while also touting that Star Trek: Picard broke records for CBS All Access.
While live-tweeting ViacomCBS’ Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call they confirmed that Star Trek: Picard broke records for their streaming service CBS All Access. Not only did they detail the show broke records, but they indicated they would be expanding their Star Trek footprint.
The ViacomCBS Twitter account quoted ViacomCBS President & CEO Bob Bakish, who stated, “On the heels of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access – which broke our records for total streams & subscriber sign-ups – we’re now taking the #StarTrek franchise & extending it across the house.”
“On the heels of #StarTrekPicard on @CBSAllAccess – which broke our records for total streams & subscriber sign-ups – we’re now taking the #StarTrek franchise & extending it across the house.” – BB $VIAC pic.twitter.com/7Og2MnBE2D
— ViacomCBS (@ViacomCBS) February 20, 2020
Their earnings press release also stated that Picard broke internal records. It reported, “In January, the premiere of Star Trek: Picard on CBS All Access broke internal records for total streams and subscriber signups.”
However, they did not provide any numbers on the subscriber sign-ups or the total streams. Bakish also left out any details on the subscription sign-ups. For example, we don’t know if these sign-ups were free trials or paying customers.
While Bakish and ViacomCBS are touting Picard, Google Trends charts following the first episode of Star Trek: Picard showed waning interest in the show.
Canadian viewership numbers for the first three episodes have also arrived and it shows significant drop offs since the premiere episode. The show started out with 1.851 million people tuning in to watch the show. By the second episode it dropped to 1.674 million. The third episode saw a nearly half a million drop from the premiere episode. It had 1.402 million people tune in.
Not only did Bakish indicate they were going to expand Star Trek, but he provided some details as well. He stated, “Building on Discovery & Picard, we now have 2 additional series in production at CBS All Access and Nickelodeon, and two more series in development; plus a series of Picard novels being rolled out at Simon & Sschuster.”
Bakish then confirmed a new Star Trek film was in the works at Paramount Pictures saying, “And a highly anticipated new Star Trek film at Paramount Pictures.”
“Building on Discovery & Picard, we now have 2 addtl series in production at @CBSAllAccess & @Nickelodeon, & 2 more series in development; plus, a series of Picard novels being rolled out at @simonschuster, & a highly anticipated new #StarTrek film at @ParamountPics.” – BB $VIAC
— ViacomCBS (@ViacomCBS) February 20, 2020
Bakish didn’t go into detail about what the shows are, but Alex Kurtzman detailed ViacomCBS’ 5 year plan for Star Trek back in June 2019. Kurtzman explained that they were working on two animated shows, the first was Star Trek: Lower Decks from the brain of Rick & Morty Executive Producer Mike McMahon. It’s expected to stream on CBS All Access.
Kurtzman described the show at the time:
“The spirit of each of these shows has to feel very different… Mike’s show [for CBS All Access] is really for kids, I would say, from 11 to 70. [Laughs]
What I love so much about the way Mike is doing is planning things. What you would typically be the ‘A’ story on any [normal] Star Trek episode is happening in the background — like huge, crazy, crazy shit is going on in the background [on Lower Decks], and that’s super peripheral to the story that you’re actually focusing on. No [Trek] show has ever really done that before.”
The second animated series was an untitled Nickelodeon show being developed by the Hageman brothers.
Krutzman described it:
“The Hageman brothers are doing [an animated] show for Nickelodeon, and that will be entirely different from ‘Lower Decks’… I won’t announce the name of the Nickelodeon show, but that’s a really different show.
That’s a show that’s for kids, younger. Full CG animation. It’s going to be incredibly cinematic. We just started seeing [storyboards] this week. It looks like, wow. It’s on par with Love, Death, and Robots in terms of beauty and lighting and cinema, so it’s a a really different feel, and Nickelodeon has been wildly supportive and I think very excited to bring a new energy to TV, you know, in animation.”
He also provided details on the Star Trek: Discovery spin-off Section 31 starring Michelle Yeoh. In June 2018, he indicated the show would begin shooting as soon as they had wrapped up Discovery Season 3.
A recent rumor indicates that will happen in May.
As for the fourth series, that one is more of a guess, but a recent rumor indicates it could be a Discovery spin-off series focused on the crew of The Enterprise led by Captain Pike.
A recent rumor surfaced on 4Chan that indicated a Pike series would be announced at San Diego Comic-Con later this year. However, that rumor also indicated there would be a Starfleet Academy series as well. It’s possible the Starfleet Academy series could be the untitled Nickelodeon series.
That rumor does have some credence as Kurtzman indicated they had discussed an Enterprise spin-off when he detailed Star Trek’s 5 year plan.
“I would be remiss in saying you’re going to see Spock again on Discovery because we’ve obviously jumped so far into the future that it wouldn’t make sense…. but the the idea of bringing Ethan [Peck] back, and Anson [Mount] and Rebecca [Romijn] and the Enterprise, I mean, we loved it so much, and to find a way to do that is definitely something we’re thinking about.”
The final piece of major news is the confirmation of another Paramount led Star Trek motion picture. Rumors have swirled around a Star Trek film for the past year. They first began with Quentin Tarantino possibly directing a Star Trek film. However, Tarantino distanced himself from the project back in December saying, “I think I’m steering away from Star Trek.” He even admitted he hadn’t had an official conversation with the Star Trek folks.
Tarantino’s comments came after a November report surfaced that Fargo creator Noah Hawley was attached to a Star Trek film. Hawley spoke about his ideas for Star Trek in January, but also admitted that he had not written a script yet, and he was still in discussions with Paramount.
“So, it’s early days, I’m still talking with Paramount and I have a take and I gotta write a script.”
In January, Bounding Into Comics reported on a rumor that Hawley’s Star Trek was dead in space after investors walked from the project. In February, a separate rumor began circulating that Hawley’s take on Star Trek was rejected for being “too Trekky.”
It was reported via a rumor, that Noah Hawley’s Star Trek film script was rejected. Even though CBS seems to be interested in moving forward with a Star Trek film, it’s yet to be seen if it will involve the Legion creator or not.
It’s unclear if Bakish is referring to Hawley’s reported Star Trek movie, or if Hawley’s Trek film was rejected and they are going in a different direction.
What do you make of this earnings call and the future of Star Trek? Do you think this is all bluster to hide a floundering Star Trek franchise? Or do you think Star Trek is truly thriving?