We’ve known since November of last year that CBS’ planned Star Trek TV series, shepherded by Bryan Fuller, wouldn’t be debuting until sometime in January 2017. Now we know why. It seems that when CBS and Paramount parted ways a decade ago, the network kept the TV rights to Star Trek while the studio kept the movie rights. The deal made sense and was a surprisingly fair arrangement. But in our modern world where TV shows and movies are crossing over more than ever to create a shared universe, the two disparate companies wanted to make sure that audiences know their respective properties are boldly going in different directions.
As IGN reports (via Trek Core), CBS Corporation president Les Moonves talked about the details behind the Star Trek rights-sharing during a teleconference for the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet & Telecom Conference. Despite being produced by Alex Kurtzman, co-writer of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness, the new TV series is not connected in any way to Justin Lin’s Star Trek Beyond. The good news is that audiences will be able to keep their TV and movie versions of the massively influential science fiction series separate; the bad news is that apparently six months of breathing room is now contractually required to occur between them.
Here’s how Moonves described the deal:
“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. [Paramount] 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.”Confusion in the marketplace sounds a little silly since I’m pretty sure that audiences can tell the difference between movies and television, but since major studios are blending those mediums more and more, it’s actually an understandable concern. I’d imagine that once the casting for the new series is announced, that’ll go a long way towards separating the different versions. Look for the new Star Trek series next January, which will be the first original series developed specifically for U.S. audiences for CBS’s streaming service, CBS All Access. The service “brings viewers thousands of episodes from CBS’s current and past seasons on demand, plus the ability to stream their local CBS Television station live for $5.99 per month [and] already offers every episode of all previous Star Trek television series.”