Star Trek: Discovery has had a solid amount of success on CBS All Access, but that doesn't change the fact that many American audiences would've preferred the series air for free on CBS. Now, fans of the series might be thankful it aired like it did as CBS CEO Leslie Moonves said if the show had aired on CBS, it would have been different. Moonves explained why to those at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco and explained serialized shows are not typically the CBS way:
Star Trek could have gone on CBS, it could have gone on Showtime, it could have gone directly to Netflix instead of just international, for a lot of money. There is a distinction. The Good Fight is a spin-off of a successful CBS show. It is sort of different on All Access, they can be serialized. On CBS we try to avoid that generally. Network television generally works better when it is not serialized.
Star Trek: Discovery without its serialized story wouldn't be the same Star Trek: Discovery fans saw in Season 1. There would be no quest for the spore drive, no Ash plot twist, and maybe even no wonderful Mirror Universe story arc. On the flip side, the series may have felt a little more familiar to the critical fans who were fans of the older Star Trek shows, and American fans of the franchise wouldn't have had to pay the premium price for CBS All Access to watch the series. Given both of those arguments, and shows like The Orville finding success on Fox with a serialized format, did CBS make the right call?
Leslie Moonves seems to think so as Trekmovie reported he said putting Star Trek: Discovery on CBS All Access did more than allow for the series to have a serialized structure. Moonves said the new Star Trek series was the perfect original series to drive potential subscribers to CBS' streaming service as its fans are "Not averse to paying for what they are getting." Moonves bet hard that Star Trek fans would pay to see a new series, and while its impossible to know whether every person who signed up was paying to see Star Trek: Discovery, the service's strong subscriber numbers appear to indicate Moonves was right.
Unfortunately, both those bits of news mean that any Star Trek: Discovery fans that were hoping CBS would move the series off CBS All Access in Season 2 better make the jump to a universe where CBS wants the serialized series in its lineup. There's little to no chance of Star Trek: Discovery dumping its serialized format, and practically zero chance of CBS moving the series off the streaming service and risking a loss of subscribers. That said, with the series not set to return until around 2019, and CBS All Access with limited original content to retain subscribers in the meantime, who knows what may happen in the next year?
Star Trek: Discovery is currently streaming Season 1 on CBS All Access. As for what's going on with other streaming services, be sure to check out our Netflix premiere guide, Hulu premiere guide, and Amazon premiere guide and never miss another streaming series again. For a look at what's happening in television in general in 2018, visit our midseason premiere guide.