Paramount+ Renews ‘Star Trek’ Series, Sets ‘Strange New Worlds’ Season 2 for June 15

The Paramount+ streaming service announced that new seasons of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” and “Star Trek: Lower Decks” will premiere globally this summer.

The second season of “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” will debut Thursday, June 15 on Paramount+ in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Latin America, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. The season will consist of 10 episodes, with new episodes debuting weekly on subsequent Thursdays. The series stars Anson Mount as Capt. Pike and focuses on the adventures of the U.S.S. Enterprise a decade before Capt. Kirk. The show has also been renewed for a 10-episode third season.

Season four of the animated comedy “Star Trek: Lower Decks” will premiere in late summer, and has been renewed for a 10-episode fifth season.

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Season two of “Strange New Worlds” will include the previously announced crossover episode with “Lower Decks” featuring both live action and animation, with “Lower Decks” stars Tawny Newsome and Jack Quaid joining the Enterprise. The episode was directed by “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star Jonathan Frakes.

In addition, the animated series “Star Trek: Prodigy,” a co-production with Nickelodeon aimed at younger viewers, will return for a second season this winter.

As previously reported, the fifth and final season of “Star Trek: Discovery” will premiere in early 2024. The finale of “Star Trek: Picard” will be available April 20.

‘Top Gun: Maverick’ Available to Stream Globally

Box office hit Top Gun: Maverick is now available to stream globally on Paramount+ in the United States as well as in Canada, Australia, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

It will be available in South Korea and France in 2023.

In the film, after more than 30 years of service as one of the Navy’s top aviators, Pete “Maverick” Mitchell (Tom Cruise) is where he belongs, pushing the envelope as a courageous test pilot and dodging the advancement in rank that would ground him. When he finds himself training a detachment of Top Gun graduates for a specialized mission the likes of which no living pilot has ever seen, Maverick encounters Lt. Bradley Bradshaw (Miles Teller), call sign “Rooster,” the son of Maverick’s late friend, and Radar Intercept Officer Lt. Nick Bradshaw, aka “Goose.” Facing an uncertain future and confronting the ghosts of his past, Maverick is drawn into a confrontation with his own deepest fears, culminating in a mission that demands the ultimate sacrifice from those who will be chosen to fly it.

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New ‘Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head’ to Premiere Aug. 4 on Paramount+

Paramount+’s upcoming new adult animated series “Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head” will premiere on the service Aug. 4 in the United States and will also be available to stream internationally in all territories where the service is available.

The new series follows on the heels of the recently released Paramount+ original film Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe, which is now available to stream. The service also hosts the 1996 classic movie Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, as well as remastered versions of the classic series, with the full library available soon.

In “Mike Judge’s Beavis and Butt-Head,” the dimwitted duo of Beavis and Butt-Head are back.

“Beavis and Butt-Head” creator Mike Judge will also be featured in Paramount+’s slate of panels at San Diego Comic-Con on July 21 at 4:45 p.m. in Ballroom 20. Judge and moderator Paul Scheer will discuss the upcoming original series, as well as Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe. An exclusive look at the new series will also debut during the panel. 

Created and voiced by writer, producer and director Mike Judge, the characters of Beavis and Butt-Head originated in Judge’s 1992 short film “Frog Baseball,” which was broadcast by MTV’s animation showcase “Liquid Television.” After MTV commissioned a full series around the characters, “Beavis and Butt-Head” ran for seven seasons from March 8, 1993, to Nov. 28, 1997. The series was revived in 2011 with an eighth season airing on MTV.

Remastered ‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Edition’ Arrives on Paramount+ April 5

The 4K restoration of Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Cut will debut exclusively on streaming service Paramount+ on April 5

Five months later, in September, the studio will issue the film on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with extensive new bonus content, details of which will be released on a later date. 

Fans will also have the opportunity to see the remastered Star Trek: The Motion Picture — The Director’s Cut on the big screen when Fathom Events and Paramount Pictures bring it to theaters for an exclusive two-day event May 22 and May 25. Tickets will go on sale Friday, April 8 at

Originally released in 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture became the fourth top-grossing movie of the year and earned three Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, Best Art Direction, and Best Music, Original Score.  The film brought the “Star Trek” franchise from television to the big screen, but due to a string of production problems and an ironclad release date it was rushed to theaters with incomplete visual effects and forced editing choices, clocking in at 131 minutes. Many critics felt the film’s pace was slow and ponderous. A 1983 television edit for ABC added 12 minutes of deleted scenes back into the film.

In 2001, director Robert Wise revisited the film to refine the edit and enhance the visual effects with CGI. His updated vision, coming in at 136 minutes, was released on DVD in standard-definition, but has never been available in high-definition until now, as the new visual effects had to be re-rendered in 4K. Restored by producer David C. Fein with preservationist Mike Matessino, both of whom originally collaborated with Wise, the film has been prepared for presentation in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) and a new Dolby Atmos soundtrack.  Fein and Matessino assembled a team of special effects experts, led by returning visual effects supervisor Daren Dochterman, and utilized the resources in the Paramount Archives to re-create the effects not just in HD, but in Ultra HD.  

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“I couldn’t be prouder and more thrilled to have completed the film in 4K,” Fein said in a statement. “Paramount offered unprecedented access to the original elements and exceptional support and the results are stunning.  Utilizing the latest discoveries and innovations of modern film production, The Director’s Edition delivers so much more today than was previously possible.  It’s an adventure you’ll never forget!”

The April 5 release date marks “First Contact Day,” the date in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact when the Vulcans first made contact with humans on April 5, 2063, near the town of Boseman, Mont.

Streaming Fatigue a Real Thing — Take It From Me!

Streaming fatigue is a real thing, and my gut instinct tells me it’s only going to get worse.

Reviewing the automatic withdrawals from my bank account the other day — which, sadly, I don’t do often enough — I realized that I have been paying monthly for both a discounted (with ads) and a premium (no ads) subscription to Hulu for more than a year.

The trouble is, I don’t remember the last time I watched anything on Hulu – and when I questioned my wife and three sons they said they haven’t watched anything on the service recently, either. It took two weeks to figure out the user names and passwords for my two Hulu accounts, but they’ve both been canceled – after I don’t know how many months of non-use.

Subscription streaming services were smart to adopt the “gym model” – you know, those $10 or $15 per month gym memberships that are so insignificant that you never bothered to cancel them, even long after you’ve stopped going to the gym. Maybe you think, “Well, even if I go one or two times next month, it’s worth it,” regardless of whether you actually go.

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The problem with our similarly priced SVOD services is that, unlike gyms, you’re prone to sign up for multiple services. And once you realize you’re shelling out upwards of $60 or $70 a month you’re invariably going to reach the point where you say to yourself, “Whoa! What the hell am I paying for here?” — particularly if, like most of us, you’re tuned in to Netflix 90% of the time.

Compounding this “too much of a good thing” problem is the fact that with theaters back in business, I am once again spending more time watching fresh theatrical films on Vudu, Redbox on Demand or Blu-ray Disc. And the more new movies I watch, the less time I have for mediocre streaming series like “Manifest” (which despite the buzz is nowhere near the caliber of, say, “House of Cards,” much less “The Sopranos”).

On top of that, I’m truly enjoying the theatrical experience now that I’m able to do so. I even saw The Many Saints of Newark at the local Regal Cinemas theater even though I could have watched it for free on HBO Max (and, in all likelihood, still will — Max is going to be one of the keepers).

What does this all mean? The average monthly streaming bill (counting Internet costs, since you need to connect to watch) now tops the average monthly cable bill by more than 40%, according to a TiVo study. And a Trade Desk survey found that nearly 60% of respondents say they spend too much money on multiple OTT subscriptions, while more than 66% say escalating fees are a source of frustration.

Where will it end? The big streamers will likely double down, adding more and more content. But simply adding content isn’t a solution. It needs to be good content, a lesson Netflix learned, early on, when it shifted away from third-rate movies and began focusing on producing its own shows.

But not every service will succeed, as consumers learn to cherry pick and figure out other ways to watch what they want to see. I had heard great things about the miniseries “Defending Jacob,” but I wasn’t about to subscribe to Apple TV+ just for that show. Ultimately, I watched it on Blu-ray Disc (thanks, Paramount!).


Paramount+ to Cost Less Than CBS All Access

An ad-supported version of Paramount+ will launch in June at a monthly subscription rate of $4.99 — $1 cheaper than the existing CBS All Access plan with limited ads.

Tom Ryan, CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming

ViacomCBS is rebooting the CBS All Access subscription streaming service to Paramount+ on March 4 at $9.99 for the ad-free plan, which also features more exclusive content.

The pricing was disclosed Feb. 24 during ViacomCBS’s marathon special investor event by Pluto TV founder Tom Ryan, who is now CEO of VIacomCBS Streaming.

CBS All Access and Showtime OTT ended 2020 with 19.2 million combined U.S. subscribers — up from 11 million at the end of 2019.

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Paramount Theatrical Releases to Stream on Branded SVOD Service 30 to 45 Days After Box Office Release

The pending Paramount+ subscription streaming service will offer access to some Paramount Pictures theatrical releases as early as 30 to 45 days after their box office debut. The SVOD service launches March 4 with a $9.99 ad-free plan, followed in June by a $4.99 monthly ad-supported option.

The higher-priced ad-free plan offers more exclusive content.

The shortened theatrical window, which underscores ongoing industry changes while remaining loyal to the traditional exhibition market, was announced Feb. 24 in a special investor presentation by ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish.

Paramount titles on tap in 2021 include Top Gun: Maverick with Tom Cruise; A Quiet Place II; The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run (available on the streaming service at launch as well as PVOD rental March 4); Coming 2 America (sold to Amazon Prime Video); Mission: Impossible 7; The Saint; Clifford the Big Red Dog; sci-fi movies including The Tomorrow War and Infinite; and Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins, among others.

Third-party studio movies, including MGM Studios, will also be available on Paramount+ 90 days after their box office debut.

Films that are released from theatrical to Paramount+ also will be available, simultaneously, through traditional home entertainment channels, including disc and transactional video.

Some marquee titles, including Top Gun: Maverick and Clifford the Big Red Dog, will follow traditional release patterns, from theatrical to transactional home entertainment (disc and digital).

Original films that are being produced specifically for Paramount+ also will be released later through transactional home entertainment channels.

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“As we always have, we believe in the power of theatrical releases and we have faith that after things get back to normal audiences will enthusiastically return to theaters,” Jim Gianopulos, CEO of Paramount Pictures, said on the webcast. “At the same time, consumers have increasingly embraced streaming as another way to enjoy films. Our strategy accounts for both.”

Separately, Paramount+ in early 2022 will be the exclusive home to Halo, a feature-length movie based on the venerable video game franchise. In addition, the studio and MGM-owned Epix announced an expansion of an existing distribution agreement whereby select MGM titles will be available first on the premium channel before made available to Paramount+. Titles include House of Gucci, Creed III and the delayed latest James Bond movie No Time to Die.


ViacomCBS: CBS All Access, Showtime OTT Combined U.S. Subs Top 19.2 Million

Just days before CBS All Access morphs into the Paramount+ subscription streaming service in early March, corporate parent ViacomCBS Feb. 24 said combined U.S. subscriptions to All Access and Showtime OTT reached 19.2 million at the end of the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2020. That compares with 11 million combined subs at the end of 2019.

ViacomCBS said All Access momentum was driven by demand for sports content, including the NFL, UEFA and SEC, as well as original programming, including “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Stand,” and content from ViacomCBS cable brands. Showtime OTT benefited from strong demand for original programming, including the
premieres of “Shameless” and the limited series “Your Honor,” as well as theatricals.

All Access, which becomes Paramount+ on March 4, costs $5.99 monthly with ads; $9.99 without. Showtime OTT, which is not joining Paramount+, costs $9.99 monthly. Paramount+ is available for a 50% discount through March 2  if consumers buy a year-long subscription  with a special code: PARAMOUNTPLUS.

In the quarter and fiscal year, global streaming subscribers grew to nearly 30 million, with ad-supported VOD platform Pluto TV’s global monthly average users up to 43 million. Domestic streaming subs rose 71% year-over-year, and Pluto TV domestic monthly average users increased to 30.1 million.

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“Despite the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, we finished the year with strong advertising and affiliate results that demonstrate the strength of our core businesses and achieved incredible growth across our linked streaming ecosystem,” CEO Bob Bakish said in a statement.

Paramount Has Steep SVOD Mountain to Climb

NEWS ANALYSIS — In the TV ad, actor Patrick Stewart (“Star Trek: Picard”), dressed in a tuxedo, summons a group of characters from various ViacomCBS television shows, including puzzled PGA Tour golfer Bryson DeChambeau, atop the icy 29,150-foot “Paramount Mountain” to talk about their pending subscription streaming VOD home, Paramount+, which launches March 4.

“What are we supposed to do up here?” asks a bundled up Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi from MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” “We dance,” replies Stewart. “Sure, let’s make it weirder,” deadpans comic Stephen Colbert.

If the TV personalities seem confused, imagine how ViacomCBS brass feel tasked with bowing the market’s sixth new SVOD platform in the past 17 months? CEO Bob Bakish is slated to reveal further details on the media company’s Feb. 24 investor day.

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The Paramount Mountain ad is the third of four commercials that began airing in the past month touting the latest SVOD competitor in a market saturated by Netflix, Disney Plus, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video, among others. By all accounts, Paramount+ — like the namesake studio — faces an uphill path to market share or relevance.

Netflix ended 2020 with more than 203 million subscribers, followed by Disney with 146 million (Disney Plus, Hulu, Hulu+Live TV, ESPN Plus) and Amazon, which disclosed 100 million Prime Video subs in 2018. By comparison, ViacomCBS had 16 million combined subs for CBS All Access and Showtime OTT at the end of the most-recent fiscal period. And only All Access is morphing into Paramount+.

“They are in a scripted-entertainment arms race with companies that are just so much bigger,” MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson told Bloomberg. “They need to do something to attract more subscribers.”

Paramount+ will cost $5.99 monthly/$59.99 annually with limited commercials, and $9.99/$99 for a commercial-free option. To entice subscribers, ViacomCBS is offering a 50% discount on the annual fee when using the promotional code “ParamountPlus” until March 3.

Surprisingly, among challenges facing Paramount+ out the gate: Exclusive content. Following a pandemic 2020, Bakish licensed away rights to Paramount Pictures movies and Paramount Television content, including “Yellowstone” to NBCUniversal’s rival Peacock SVOD platform. The series, starring Kevin Costner as a cattle rancher in Montana, is Paramount Network’s biggest-ever TV show.

Indeed, Paramount Television produces shows for Netflix, Amazon and Facebook. For instance, the show “Jack Ryan” is on Prime Video. The company launched Viacom Digital Studios to produce social media friendly content for outlets such as Facebook.

“They sold everything to Netflix,” said Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter. “They got addicted to the earnings stream.”

Bakish admits the license deals are financially accretive to the bottom line; telling a CES event in January that he believes “there’s a lot of value in assets that we already own.” The executive contends the goal is “unlocking opportunity through truly multi-platform distribution,” whether it be AVOD, SVOD, legacy platforms or other models.

VIacomCBS has made a huge push into AVOD through the 2019 acquisition of Pluto TV. Its founder, Tom Ryan, is now in charge of ViacomCBS Streaming, overseeing all streaming and digital platforms including Paramount+.

“Relative to some of our peers, we’re further along in this [digital] transition,” Bakish said.