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CBS goes SVOD-first with new Star Trek series

A new scripted drama ordered to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the original Star Trek series will debut in 2017, with CBS Corp. planning to launch it as an SVOD-first original.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 16.47.43The new Star Trek series will premiere in the US on the CBS broadcast network in January 2017, with the opening episode and then all subsequent instalments getting a first-run on the National Amusements-owned network’s SVOD platform, CBS All Access.

CBS will hope the exclusive on-demand model will drive viewers to take the US$5.99 a month CBS All Access in the same way Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video commission originals to drive subscriptions.

CBS All Access platform already offers all previous Star Trek series, the most recent of which was Star Trek: Enterprise, which ended its run on The CW predecessor UPN in 2005.

CBS Studios International will hold all distribution rights to the series.

Plot details around the new show are scant, with CBS simply revealing it would “introduce new characters seeking imaginative new worlds and new civilisations, while exploring the dramatic contemporary themes that have been a signature of the franchise since its inception in 1966”. It will not be related to the upcoming Paramount Pictures-distributed feature film Star Trek Beyond.

Prolific network TV producer Alex Kurtzman will executive produce the new show, with his Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout the associate producer alongside CBS Television Studios.

Along with exec-producing CBS series Scorpion, Hawaii Five-0 and Limitless, Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the recent feature films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Heather Kadin (Hawaii Five-0) of K/O Paper Products will also executive produce.

Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek franchise turns 50 in September next year, meaning the new series comes five decades later.

“There is no better time to give ‘Star Trek’ fans a new series than on the heels of the original show’s 50th anniversary celebration,” said David Stapf, president, CBS Television Studios. “Everyone here has great respect for this storied franchise, and we’re excited to launch its next television chapter in the creative mind and skilled hands of Alex Kurtzman, someone who knows this world and its audience intimately.”

CBS Digital Media executive VP and general manager Marc DeBevoise said CBS All Access had “experienced terrific growth” and had an “incredible opportunity to accelerate” with the new Star Trek as its first original series.

“This new series will premiere to the national CBS audience, then boldly go where no first-run Star Trek series has gone before – directly to its millions of fans through CBS All Access,” he added.

CBS Global Distribution Group president and CEO Armando Nuñez said at least one episode of Star Trek series was aired around the world every day. “We can’t wait to introduce Star Trek’s next voyage on television to its vast global fan base,” he added.