CBS All Access Orders ‘Star Trek’ Spinoff Focused on Capt. Pike’s Enterprise

The CBS All Access streaming service May 15 announced it has ordered “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds,” a new series focused on Capt. Pike’s tenure as commander of the starship Enterprise 10 years before Capt. Kirk.

The series will star Anson Mount as Pike, Rebecca Romijn as first officer Number One, and Ethan Peck as science officer Lt. Spock. The trio first played the characters in the second season of CBS All Access’ “Star Trek: Discovery” and reprised the roles in a number of “Short Treks” episodes.

Though fan reaction to “Discovery” has been mixed, the performances of Mount, Romijn and Peck as the legacy characters has been widely praised, leading to calls for them to receive their own show.

“When we said we heard the fans’ outpouring of love for Pike, Number One and Spock when they boarded ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ last season, we meant it,” executive producer Alex Kurtzman said in a statement. “These iconic characters have a deep history in Star Trek canon, yet so much of their stories have yet to be told.”

The characters themselves date back to the original “Star Trek” pilot episode, “The Cage,” that was produced in 1964. Series creator Gene Roddenberry’s first attempt to sell the science-fiction series was famously rejected by NBC executives, though they were impressed enough by the concept to ask for a second pilot, which revamped the formula by replacing almost the entire cast, keeping only the alien Spock character, played by Leonard Nimoy, and introducing Capt. Kirk as played by William Shatner. Footage from the original pilot was eventually recycled for a two-part episode of the original “Star Trek” series that introduced Pike as Spock’s former captain.

“Strange New Worlds” could thus be seen in some regards as the “Star Trek” series that Roddenberry had originally envisioned in the mid-1960s. The title comes from the famous mission creed of the U.S.S. Enterprise to “explore strange new worlds” and “seek out new life and new civilizations,” with the show’s creators promising a series that returns “Star Trek” to its roots of a starship exploring a vast unknown galaxy.

“Fans fell in love with Anson Mount, Rebecca Romijn and Ethan Peck’s portrayals of these iconic characters when they were first introduced on ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ last season,” Julie McNamara, EVP and head of programming at CBS All Access, said in a statement. “This new series will be a perfect complement to the franchise, bringing a whole new perspective and series of adventures to ‘Star Trek.’”

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The series premiere was written by Akiva Goldsman with a story by Goldsman, Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet. Goldsman, Kurtzman, and Lumet will serve as executive producers in addition to Henry Alonso Myers, Heather Kadin, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth.

“With Akiva and Henry at the helm, the Enterprise, its crew, and its fans are in for an extraordinary journey to new frontiers in the Star Trek universe,” Kurtzman said.

Pike was previously played by Jeffrey Hunter in “The Cage,” with actor Sean Kenney in heavy makeup doubling for Hunter in new sequences shot for the pilot footage’s use in the original series. Bruce Greenwood played Pike in J.J. Abrams’ 2009 reboot movie and its 2013 sequel (both co-written by Kurtzman). Number One was previously played by “Trek” mainstay (and later Gene Roddenberry’s wife) Majel Barrett in “The Cage.”

In addition to “Star Trek: Discovery,” which is expected to premiere its third season later this year, CBS All Access is also home to “Star Trek: Picard,” a “Star Trek: The Next Generation” sequel that presented its first season earlier this year, and “Short Treks,” a series of 15- to 20-minute short films based on elements from the franchise. CBS All Access will also present the animated series “Star Trek: Lower Decks.”

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“Strange New Worlds” will be the eighth live-action “Star Trek” series in the history of the franchise. The series will be produced by CBS Television Studios, Secret Hideout and Roddenberry Entertainment. Aaron Baiers, Akela Cooper, and Davy Perez will serve as co-executive producers. Goldsman will remain an executive producer and a member of the creative team on “Star Trek: Picard” as well.

A premiere date for “Strange New Worlds” was not announced.

‘Star Trek: Short Treks’ Collection on Blu-ray June 2

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment will release Star Trek: Short Treks on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 2.

Created for and originally presented on the CBS All Access streaming service, “Short Treks” are a spinoff of “Star Trek: Discovery” that present 10- to 15-minute stories set in the “Star Trek” universe.

The Blu-ray and DVD collection gathers nine “Short Treks.” The first season, produced between “Discovery” season one and season two, includes “Runaway,” in which Tilly bonds with a stowaway on Discovery; “Calypso,” set in the far future when a drifter encounters an abandoned Discovery; “The Brightest Star,” which delves into the backstory of Saru; and “The Escape Artist,” a standalone adventure featuring con-artist Harry Mudd.

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The second batch of shorts includes three tales about Capt. Pike and the U.S.S. Enterprise — “Q&A,” “The Trouble With Edward” and “Ask Not” — and two animated shorts, “Ephraim & Dot” and “The Girl Who Made the Stars.”

The cast includes Anson Mount as Pike, Ethan Peck as Spock, Rebecca Romijn as Number One, Rainn Wilson as Mudd, Mary Wiseman as Tilly, Doug Jones as Saru, and Aldis Hodge as Craft.

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The set includes more than 50 minutes of bonus material, including a featurette about the making of “Short Treks”; audio commentaries for “Runaway” and “Ask Not”; “Coming of Age,” a behind-the-scenes look at “Runaway”; “Shall We Dance,” a look at “Calypso”; “First Contact: Kaminar,” a look at “The Brightest Star”; “Covered in Mudd,” about “The Escape Artist”; “Engisn Spock’s First Day,” a look at “Q&A”; “Here Comes Tribble,” a deep dive “The Trouble With Edward”; “Score!,” a behind-the-curtain discussion with composer Michael Giacchino about “Ephraim and Dot”; and “Bedtime Stories,” about the animated “The Girl Who Made the Stars.”

 

CBS All Access Gets Grammy, ‘Star Trek’ Boost

CBS All Access, the standalone subscription streaming service from ViacomCBS, reportedly saw record subscriber growth in January, thanks to high-profile showcases, including the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards and the premiere of “Star Trek: Picard.”

The Jan. 26 Grammys telecast included a promotion that offered a free month of service to new subscribers.

“The new [sub] records we’ve experienced due to ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ the Grammys and a fantastic season of football are a phenomenal way to kick off what will be a fantastic year for CBS All Access,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer, ViacomCBS, and president and CEO, CBS Interactive, said in a statement.

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CBS did not disclose actual subscriber numbers. Indeed, CBS revealed that 18.7 million viewers watched the telecast, which was down 6% from 19.9 million last year.

All Access, similar to Amazon Prime Video, is not afraid to stream live sports, including NFL broadcasts and playoff games. In the most-recent fiscal call, acting CEO Joe Ianniello said All Access and Showtime OTT had a combined 10 million subscribers.

CBS said The Grammys increased All Access sign-ups 80% from the same time last year, while dedicated viewership increased 30%.

The media company said the new original “Star Trek” series starring Patrick Stewart bumped up overall streaming (which includes Amazon Prime Channels) 115%, in addition to 180% spike on All Access — the highest streaming increases since the last original Star Trek series, ” Star Trek: Discovery.”

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“All Access continues to build upon its great mix of programming — from original series, to sports and special events — and we’ve strategically programmed 2020 to bring subscribers an ‘always on’ calendar of must-watch series and events,” DeBevoise said.

Merchandising: The ‘Discovery’ of Exclusives

A couple of retailers had exclusive editions for the Nov. 12 new releases.

Best Buy had a version of Paramount’s Blu-ray release of Star Trek: Discovery — Season Two in Steelbook packaging for $39.99.

Target’s ‘The Big Bang Theory: Season 12’ Blu-ray box art

Target offered the Blu-ray of The Big Bang Theory: The Complete Twelfth and Final Season with exclusive box art for $32.99. The store didn’t offer the regular edition on its shelves, so buyers who wanted to standard box art were out of luck.

Target’s ‘The Angry Birds Movie 2’ Blu-ray with sticker book

Sony Pictures’ The Angry Birds Movie 2 at Target was offered in a Blu-ray combo pack with a 24-page activity book with stickers for $22.99.

DC Universe Tops Digital Originals Chart with ‘Titans,’ ‘Young Justice’

Two DC Universal series captured the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the digital originals chart the week ended Jan. 19, according to Parrot Analytics.

“Titans” topped the chart despite a minor decline in demand, while “Young Justice” rose to No. 2 from No. 4 with a 6% gain in Demand Expressions, a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. The metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Netflix’s “Stranger Things,” the prior week’s top digital original, slipped to No. 3 after an 18.6% drop in demand.

Fueled by an 18% increase in demand, Netflix’s modern thriller “You” rose to No. 4 from No. 8 the prior week. The show was singled out as a success by Netflix in its latest quarterly earnings report, triggering numerous media reports – including a story in the Washington Post with the headline, “’You’ was ignored on Lifetime. Then it blew up on Netflix.”

“You” launched last September on the linear Lifetime network. In December it was announced that “You” would move to Netflix as a “Netflix Original,” ahead of the premiere Season 2.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart was CBS All Access‘s “Star Trek: Discovery,” which during the week that ended Jan. 19 attracted a daily average of 24.8 million Demand Expressions, 26.2% more than in the prior week.

The biggest gainer on a percentage basis was “Marvel’s The Punisher,” which returned to the top 10, at No. 8 (from No. 15 the previous week) with a 29.2% spike in demand.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Exec Producer Talks About Going SVOD, the Launch of the Second Season and More ‘Trek’

LAS VEGAS — “Terrifying” — that’s how Alex Kurtzman, executive producer of “Star Trek: Discovery” described launching on the SVOD platform CBS All Access.

Kurtzman spoke Jan. 9 during the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES in Las Vegas.

“There’s always concern that the fans will revolt,” he said. And “Star Trek” fans are notoriously engaged.

“What was really clear was if we’re going to ask people to pay $10 a month we’re going to have to deliver an experience that they can’t get on traditional television,” Kurtzman said.

The first season famously sported some Klingon nudity and the first F-bomb in the series.

“It’s all tone,” he said, and being careful to not be “disrespectful of ‘Trek.’” The F-bomb, for instance, was delivered in reference to a scientific concern, he said.

“I think that the line now between movies and television is essentially over,” he said, noting “Discovery” is basically a long movie.

“The thing I love about TV is you can spend time getting into the details of the characters lives,” he said.

To that end, in the second season, the series will explore the relationship between Spock and his adoptive sister. It will be about “family [including the work family] working together to solve this mystery,” he said.

Taking into account some of the fan concerns about the dark theme of the first season, the second will include more humor, he said.

It also will address a burning question for some fans about the first season: Why do the Klingons have no hair?

Season two reveals that “in a time of war, Klingons shave all their body hair,” he said.

More “Trek” series are in the works, including an animated show from “Rick and Morty” exec producer Mike McMahan about the lower deck employees and a series with Patrick Stewart returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It took some convincing, but Stewart eventually agreed to revisit the character.

“Sometimes you meet your heroes and they are as wonderful as you want them to be,” Kurtzman said of Stewart.

‘The Ranch,’ ‘Star Trek: Discovery,’ ‘Voltron’ Return to Top 10 Digital Originals Chart

Driven by double-digit gains in demand, three digital originals returned to the top 10 the week that ended Dec. 15, according to Parrot Analytics Data.

“The Ranch,” with a 42.9% increase in average daily Demand Expressions, shot up to No. 7 from No. 15 the prior week. The Netflix sitcom, which debuted in 2016, is set on a ranch in a fictitious small town in Colorado and follows a dysfunctional family consisting of two brothers, their rancher father, and his divorced wife and local bar owner.

“Star Trek: Discovery,” from CBS All Access, came in at No. 8, with just over 20 million average daily Demand Expressions, an 18.6% gain from the prior week, when the sci-fi series was ranked at No. 13.

And “Voltron: Legendary Defender,” from Netflix, rode a 37.6% increase in average daily Demand Expressions to the No. 9 spot, up from No. 21 the prior week.

Demand Expressions is a proprietary metric used by Parrot Analytics to measure global demand for TV content. The metric draws from a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Elsewhere on the chart, “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” tumbled from No. 1 all the way to No. 5 with a 20% decline in average daily Demand Expressions, just one week after the supernatural teen-witch series regained the top spot on the digital originals chart it had held for five of the past six weeks.

Taking its place at No. 1 was perennial favorite “Stranger Things,” whose rise from No. 4 was powered by a 45.6% gain in demand.  The likely trigger was the release earlier in the month of a teaser for Season 3, which is expected to bow in 2019, most likely in the summer or early fall.

Set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, in the 1980s, the first season focused on the disappearance of a young boy amid various supernatural events, including the appearance of a girl with psychic powers who helps look for the boy. Season 2 is set a year later and focuses on the town’s attempts to return to normalcy.

The DC Universe series “Titans” rose to No. 2 from No. 5 the prior week, with an 8.7% uptick in demand, while Amazon Prime Video’s award-winning comedy “The Marvelous Mrs, Maisel” continued its climb up the chart, landing at No. 3, up two spots from the prior week, thanks to a 10.5% spike in demand.

“Narcos: Mexico” slipped to No. 4 from No. 2 the prior week.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

 

Data Analytics Firm Announces Launch of Global TV Demand Awards

Parrot Analytics on Oct. 16 announced the launch of the Global TV Demand Awards.

The winners of the first-ever data-driven TV content awards will be presented at the NATPE international content market in Miami on Jan. 22, 2019.

Parrot Analytics, a big data TV analytics firm specializing in content demand measurement worldwide, made the announcement in a press conference held during the MIPCOM international content market in Cannes.

According to Parrot Analytics CEO Wared Seger, the Global TV Demand Awards will recognize television series that have garnered the most audience demand globally over the course of calendar year 2018.

“The Global TV Demand Awards celebrate the most popular television shows each year, without a panel of judges or any other subjective voting body,” he said. “At Parrot Analytics, we provide the most accurate determination of what content people want in an ever-expanding multi-platform world, and for what is now a $500 billion television industry.”

Consumers express their demand for television shows in different ways, including social media engagement, video streaming and peer-to-peer protocols, photo sharing, blogging, and research platforms, Seger noted. Parrot Analytics that captures, weighs, and combines all of these different touchpoints into a single content demand measurement. The Demand Expressions metric represents the total audience demand being expressed for any title across all platforms, in any market, around the world.

During the press conference, Seger also provided the top-five most in-demand TV series for the year so far. The top five in each category, in alphabetical order, are as follows:

Most In-Demand Digital Original Series in the World (data represents current finalists from Jan. 1 to Sept. 30, 2018):

  1. 13 Reasons Why
  2. Black Mirror
  3. Narcos
  4. Star Trek: Discovery
  5. Stranger Things

 

Most In-Demand Series in the World (data represents current finalists from January 1 to September 30, 2018):

  1. The Big Bang Theory
  2. Game of Thrones
  3. Grey’s Anatomy
  4. Vikings
  5. The Walking Dead

 

“Parrot Analytics has created a fundamentally different kind of awards program; one that is entirely data-based and reflects the cross-platform nature of our global TV industry to-day,” said J.P. Bommel, President and CEO of NATPE. “All of us at NATPE are excited to host the first Global TV Demand Awards presentation at our conference in Miami and look forward to the announcement of the winners in January.”

Only one series will be designated as the Most In-Demand Digital Original Series in the World and one as the Most In-Demand Series in the World, using data gathered from Jan. 1, 2018 through Dec. 31, 2018.

CBS Accused of Plagiarism Over ‘Star Trek: Discovery’

An Egyptian video game developer is suing CBS Corp. over allegations the CBS All Access series “Star Trek: Discovery” incorporated several plot elements he had introduced in a game he created.

Indie developer Anas Abdin cites several similarities between “Star Trek: Discovery” and his game Tardigrades, a point-and-click adventure game that featured a giant blue tardigrade that could instantaneously transport people across the galaxy. (Tardigrades, also referred to as water bears, are in reality microscopic organisms known for their durability in extreme conditions.)

Abdin says he posted the game in 2014 on Steam Greenlight, a website that lets developers post early versions of games to gain feedback from players.

CBS announced the development of “Discovery” a year later in 2015. After reports of some creative friction in getting the show off the ground, “Discovery” premiered in late 2017, and one of the major storylines of its first season involves the crew discovering a giant tardigrade and using its abilities to transport the ship across the galaxy.

Abdin also notes many similarities between characters on the show and in his game, as well as other vaguely similar details.

In an Aug. 21 blog post, Abdin stated “The last 10 months were so hard on me and the development of the project. I tried every possible way to have a respectful and reasonable discussion with CBS but they treated me in disrespect and just dangled me around with postponing meetings due to their vacations and being busy. The first conversation turned into the last one. I gave them a lot of time to make things right. Unfortunately, I found myself at a dead end with them, and so I had to enforce my rights by filing a lawsuit to treat me seriously.”

The listed defendants include CBS and Netflix, which streams “Discovery” internationally.

CBS has yet to respond to the lawsuit.

‘Stranger Things’ Shoots Up Digital Originals Chart, But ‘Orange’ Still No. 1, Parrot Analytics Says

Two weeks after the launch of Season 6, “Orange Is the New Black” remains the most in-demand digital original in the United States, according to Parrot Analytics data for the week ended Aug. 11.

The women-in-prison drama series remains No. 1 on the digital originals chart, despite a 12.6% dip in demand from the previous week.

“Stranger Things,” like “Orange” a Netflix original, rose to No. 2 from No. 4 the prior week  with a 31.6% spike in demand, Parrot Analytics data shows. The increase in Demand Expressions is likely caused by executive producer Shawn Levy revealing that while the upcoming third season of the popular Netflix series will undoubtedly embrace its summer of 1985 setting, it will be both the darkest and most ambitious season of the series to date. The third season is slated to premiere in the summer 2019.

Parrot Analytics uses a proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.

Hulu’s “Castle Rock” slipped to No. 3 from No. 2, with a 16.5% drop in demand. The horror series is based on the writings of Stephen King.

“Star Trek: Discovery,” from CBS All Access rose to No. 4 on the digital originals chart from No. 8 the previous week, with a 23.7% gain in demand.

The show will soon make the transition from subscription streaming to transactional video.  An Aug. 5 panel on the show at the Star Trek Las Vegas convention included the announcement that the first season of the show will arrive on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Nov. 13 from Paramount Home Media Distribution and CBS Home Entertainment.

Rounding out the top five on the digital originals chart for the week ended Aug. 11 was Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” down from No. 3 the previous week. Demand is down 10.9% from the prior week.

A modest 1% rise in demand lifted “Marvel’s Daredevil” back into the top 10 (at No. 10). In a quarterly earnings call with investors, outgoing Netflix CFO David Wells confirmed the inaugural Marvel Netflix digital original will return later this year. Filming on Season 3 began in November 2017.

Media Play News has teamed with Parrot Analytics to provide readers with a weekly top 10 of the most popular digital original TV series in the United States, based on the firm’s  proprietary metric called Demand Expressions, which measures global demand for TV content through a wide variety of data sources, including video streaming, social media activity, photo sharing, blogging, commenting on fan and critic rating platforms, and downloading and streaming via peer-to-peer protocols and file sharing sites.