May 6, 2019 at 2:16 pm #25746
CBS is basically building a whole business unit around Star Trek. [LINK]
May 6, 2019 – CBS Television Studios has created a global franchise group that will manage and maximize the expansion of the “Star Trek” brand beyond the traditional boundaries of linear broadcasting and streaming. This new business unit reports to David Stapf, President of CBS Television Studios.
Leading the new team is Veronica Hart, Executive Vice President, “Star Trek” Global Franchise Management, who will manage the “Star Trek” global brand strategy to support the content development plans being developed within CBS and under the stewardship of Alex Kurtzman.
The unit’s goal is to invigorate and broaden the “Star Trek” fan community through additional branding opportunities, such as podcasts, a reinvigorated StarTrek.com and new digital spaces, consumer products and gaming, as well as live experiential events and global attractions. These endeavors to further grow the brand are designed to complement the Studio’s expansion of the “Star Trek” universe, which now includes two live-action series, two animated projects and multiple “shorts.”
The growing “Star Trek” universe for television includes a new animated “Trek” series from writers Kevin and Dan Hageman for Nickelodeon; STAR TREK: DISCOVERY and STAR TREK: SHORT TREKS, a series of short stories tied to DISCOVERY and the overall “Star Trek” universe; the new untitled “Star Trek” series featuring Sir Patrick Stewart reprising his iconic role as Jean-Luc Picard; STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS from Mike McMahan (“Rick and Morty”), an animated series targeted at mature audiences; and a new “Star Trek” project based on “Section 31,” which is in development with Michelle Yeoh attached to star. With the exception of the new Nickelodeon edition, these series are presented on CBS’ streaming service, CBS All Access, in the U.S.
In addition to Hart, the franchise team includes: John Van Citters, VP, “Star Trek” Brand Development, who will work within CBS and across the industry as brand experts while leading the implementation of initiatives and programs; Yasmin Elachi, Director of “Star Trek” Content, in charge of creating, relaunching and maintaining the new StarTrek.com along with overseeing all aspects of “Star Trek” social media in order to present a cohesive online brand; and Gabrielle Oliff, Director of Global Franchise Management Operations, who will focus on executing franchise initiatives and managing the review analytics and preparing presentations for cross-company communication. All are incredibly knowledgeable about the “Star Trek” universe, including legacy, current and future iterations of the series.
“Veronica and her team are not only gifted brand strategists and veteran consumer products executives, they are also experts on the ‘Star Trek’ canon,” said Stapf. “We are excited to launch this new business unit because the brand has an enormously rabid fan base, and we look forward to expanding its reach even further.”
“As we expand the Trekverse, Veronica’s team and Secret Hideout are dedicated to broadening ‘Star Trek’s’ brand reach by amplifying its core values globally: empowerment, inclusion, imagination, and above all, the exceptional storytelling that’s inspired generations of fans,” said Alex Kurtzman.
The new franchise group will be based out of Alex Kurtzman’s Secret Hideout Productions in Santa Monica, Calif. Kurtzman, who is under an overall deal at the Studio, is the executive producer of the various “Star Trek” series.
I’m glad John Van Citters is in the inner circle on this; he’s been the guardian of Trek licensing for several years now and can claim some credit for a lot of the cool stuff we’ve gotten in recent years, soundtracks and all. If they’d started this venture without John in the room, that would have been a massive mistake.
I wonder what the phrase “such as podcasts” means for my job.
May 6, 2019 at 4:38 pm #25757
Here’s hoping they don’t oversaturate the market.
I too am curious as to what they mean by podcasts. Why would they even want to dip their toes into those waters? You’ve already got the Roddenberry Podcast Network, which does a fantastic job. What were your thoughts?May 6, 2019 at 5:06 pm #25764
Best case scenario: Ken and John get to declare themselves not just a Roddenberry podcast, but an official Star Trek podcast. They’ve more than earned it in my not so humble and totally biased opinion. Same goes for Women at Warp, Trek Files, and the whole bunch. That’d look good on all of our CVs.
(Downside to the best case scenario: the amount of e-mail, DMs and PMs the guys get accusing them of being “shills for the studio” goes up about 300%.)
Worst case scenario: Roddenberry eliminates or reduces support to the network so as not to step on CBS’ toes. Mission Log probably continues under its own power, but in that scenario, I can see where Mission Log Live (and me with it) is suddenly the most expendable part of the lineup, especially in the long stretch between new seasons of any current shows.
May 6, 2019 at 5:12 pm #25765
I hope CBS is not that foolish. I think the best case scenario would be to let them continue on as they are. CBS already has all these shows lined up; there is no need to get into podcasting. It would really upset the fans if they messed with the Roddenberry Network. I really hope CBS is able to see that and just leave them be.May 6, 2019 at 6:22 pm #25767
Keep in mind that Roddenberry has to pay for the Star Trek license just like anyone else – stuff like the super-expensive Picard desk set things a while back? Roddenberry was just a licensee there. The Roddenberry family has no ownership stake in Star Trek as an IP, and never did. They negotiated a neato sweetheart deal to be attached to any future projects as producers, but that exists largely to keep the fanbase on board, and all sides know this.
If CBS wanted to start charging Roddenberry for producing anything labeled “A Roddenberry Star Trek podcast”, I think there would suddenly be fewer Roddenberry Star Trek podcasts. The ball is really entirely in CBS’ court here. That being said: I think CBS adopting the Roddenberry podcasts would be the best thing for everyone. They have established audiences. CBS doesn’t have to outlay anything to keep them going. And remember Jordan Huffman’s “Engage!” podcast, the last official CBS-produced Star Trek podcast? It wasn’t exactly looked upon kindly by large swaths of fandom. Especially the last episode, where Huffman said that he considered all other Star Trek podcasts to be “bootleg podcasts” and then had to walk that back on Twitter when TrekGeeks, Trek.fm and others jumped his ass for it (and rightly so). So my gut says the smartest move would be for CBS to officially sanction the RPN shows. My only concern then is that they’d want to make Mission Log Live more “slick” than it already is, and I don’t know how much clout the guys would have to advocate for keeping me around in such a situation. I’d like to think it looks pretty slick already, but…
…yeah, I mean, what’s slicker than that? 😆
May 6, 2019 at 6:52 pm #25768
Hopefully CBS will realize what a great thing the RPN is and leave them be. I hope they realize that the RPN podcasts generate a lot of interest in Star Trek that is to CBS’s benefit. If CBS started messing with that, it would not help their image. I like that they are independent and that their objectivity is not compromised.
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