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Even if TV wasn’t in the middle of a “let’s remake the shit out of everything” boom, the concept of a new Star Trek TV show would still get a lot of attention. CBS’ recent decision to expand the franchise was certainly a surprising one, but the legit shock came when it was clear the network would not be debuting it over the air, but rather exclusively through the subscription service CBS All Access. And now CBS head honcho Les Moonves has given his reason for doing so.
I think Star Trek is the type of show that could bolster CBS All Access and put it on perhaps the same footing as Netflix or Amazon…[Star Trek’s fans] are some of the most passionate fans in the world, and we can see millions of them joining All Access.
We’ve seen some ballsy words from network and streaming outlet heads in the past few months, as competition has become as fierce as it’s ever been. But this might take the cake, as Moonves thinks that one show can put his streaming service in the stratosphere that Netflix has been dominating in recent years. Yeah, I know it’s Star Trek, and the movie reboots have been hits and the third one is highly-anticipated, but it’s a huge gamble to assume that all of those same people are going to begin shelling out the $6 monthly fees to watch it online. In fact, there have already been an outpouring of stories and social media posts across the Internet saying that they would definitely not join CBS All Access to watch a new Star Trek series. Remember Enterprise’s low ratings?
Regardless of whether or not these initial dissenters will indeed begrudge CBS enough to avoid subscribing, that doesn’t make this a truly terrible move on CBS’ part, and having lofty goals is hardly the worst thing in the world. While Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are in a world of their own in the streaming game, Moonves and CBS are early pioneers in taking this same approach to already proven TV outlets. While many networks have apps and websites for people to engage with (usually ad-filled) current programming, CBS All Access was the first non-premium cable network push into subscription streaming, and the huge library of classic shows was a definite selling point. As Mooves said during the third-quarter earnings conference call, according to TheWrap, he thinks that the cord-cutting phenomenon is overblown, but that still doesn’t mean he’s going to just sit back and not play both sides.
It was only a matter of time before Moonves decided to use CBS All Access to get some original programming out there, and a new Star Trek show was definitely a good idea to start off with. But will it pay off?