Streaming: The final frontier. Truly, the world of entertainment for Trekkie fans worldwide is as vast as the galaxy now that CBS has confirmed it will launch a new iteration of the Star Trek franchise, with a new digital series set to premiere in 2017.
It is the first original series developed specifically for CBS All Access, the cable network’s SVOD service. According to the network, only the first episode of the sci-fi classic reboot will run on its linear service. Rather, the show (including the pilot) will be streamed exclusively on CBS All Access.
The on-demand service is available for $5.99 per month and enables users to stream episodes from CBS’s linear library and live from some of the network’s local CBS stations. It is currently only accessible to U.S. users.
Alex Kurtzman,Roberto Orci and Damon Lindelof, who co-wrote and produced the most-recent Star Trek feature films in 2009 and 2013, will serve as executive producers on the new series. However, CBS reps have confirmed that it will not have any character or plot cross-overs with the recent films (or the upcoming sequel Star Trek Beyond). It will, instead, feature a completely new set of characters, new worlds and new civilizations.
The announcement comes as CBS looks to expand its digital reach, particularly among millennials. According to Marc DeBevoise, EVP and GM of
digital media for CBS, the “iconic” Star Trek brand provides the network with an “incredible opportunity to accelerate growth.”
The two most recent Star Trek films, Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness (both directed by sci-fi giant J. J. Abrams) grossed nearly $258 million and $229 million, respectively, at the global box office, according to Box Office Mojo.
In the fall of 2016, Star Trek will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The original series (starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, pictured left to right) ran on NBC. The franchise also included an animated series (NBC), The Next Generation (first broadcast to independent stations), Deep Space Nine (UPN) and Enterprise (UPN). In total, 12 Star Trek films have been released.
CBS has not yet disclosed the number of subscribers it has to its All Access service, which launched in 2014 — nor has it disclosed whether episodes will appear on the service on a weekly basis or if they will arrive all at once for those who prefer to binge-watch. It recently expanded the service to Apple TV, and also became the first SVOD service to partner with Nielsen. The partnership will see Nielsen Digital measure the size and engagement levels of CBS’ streaming audience and fold that information into the broadcasters’ overall network ratings.