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Star Trek Fans Need to Face Reality of CBS’s New Trek Series

The internet, as well as the hearts and minds of millions of fans worldwide exploded this week as CBS made an announcement completely out of the blue: a new Star Trek television series would premiere in January 2017, on the heels of both the 13th Star Trek feature film Star Trek Beyond and the 50th anniversary of the venerable sci-fi franchise.

As quickly as that happy announcement was released, fans were surprised by the fact that the series would not be shown on the small screen in the typical fashion. The new Star Trek would only be available in the states on CBS All ACCESS, the network’s pay-per-month streaming video service. This quickly created a fairly intense backlash among some fans as this means that they will have to pay $5.99 per month to watch the new show.

While the concerns are understandable, there are a few things we need to consider:

Star Trek TOS-As much as we love and revere Trek in our hearts, it is a commodity owned by CBS. It is a product that is intended to make money. As such, when marketing the series they can and will charge what the market will bear. Whether that’s by selling advertisements or charging fans directly for the streaming service, CBS is trying to run a business. They know that by featuring the series on CBS ALL-ACCESS that millions of fans will pay to watch it. This is a given. It’s just good business. To be completely honest, $5.99 per month seems to be a more than fair price to watch new Trek.

-There is precedent with using Star Trek in unconventional ways. In the late 70’s, Star Trek Phase II was a new series in production with the original cast meant to be the flagship series for a new network by Paramount. The series was ultimately aborted and Star Trek: The Motion Picture was produced, but this concept of a television series carrying a network was reused in 1995 When the UPN debuted with Star Trek Voyager at the forefront as its showcase programming.

Star Trek: The Next Generation Premiered in Syndication, the first television series to do so, paving the way for series like Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules to do likewise.

Star Trek Enterprise wallpaperTo those threatening to boycott the show because of the proposed broadcast format: You’re cutting your nose off to spite your face. You cannot blame CBS at all for wanting to do this. Star Trek has an extremely zealous fan base and has always been considered a “crown jewel,” for the studios that have owned it. They are practically guaranteed to sell millions of subscription to ALL-ACCESS by basing the new Star Trek there. Forbes magazine today is predicting the revenue CBS will gain from the New Trek series by housing it on ALL-ACCESS will be nearly $414,000,000.00 for 2017 alone. (This is assuming the subscribers keep their subscriptions for ALL-ACCESS for the first six months of 2017 and then cancel it.) Again, if you think it isn’t about the money, you’re fooling yourself. To keep Star Trek on screen and vital, it needs to be profitable. It would seem that this strategy is pretty much guaranteed to pay off. As long as the show is carrying the spirit of Gene Roddenberry’s original vision, is engaging, exciting and does what all good science fiction does: lets you examine the human condition from an outside perspective, then this writer (who by the way lives paycheck to paycheck just like most of the rest of you) will happily pay the monthly subscription cost to “BOLDLY GO,” into, “THE FINAL FRONTIER…” (See what I did there???)

What say you?  Are you excited about the prospect of a new Star Trek Series?   Please comment and share to foster honest and open dialogue.   Just remember, comments like, “They are being greedy,” or, “They are just trying to make a buck off the fans,” only go to support the argument made in this article!  Now, if you’ll excuse him, this Word of the Nerd writer is going to go sign up for CBS ALL-ACCESS, as well as look into what it would take to become a VERY SMALL-time CBS shareholder.


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About the author

Tim Piland

Timothy Piland is a classically trained tenor and opera singer. He was born and raised in the Springfield, Mo. Area.

He has performed Roles for Springfield Little Theater, Vandivort Theater, Springfield Regional Opera and Mobile Opera. He has also worked for the Puccini Festival, and the Kansas City Lyric Opera.

In his performing career he has performed roles in: Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Man of La Mancha, Die Fledermouse, La Fanciulla del West, Gianni Schicchi and many other shows.

In 2007, he toured the United Kingdom with the Church of the Incarnation out of Dallas, Texas. This included a week long engagement at Westminster Abbey, as well as a 9 day engagement at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, Scotland.

In 2009 he originated the role of the Priest in "Frankenstein, Monster" by Le Wlhelm at the Gilloiz Theater.

He appeared onstage as Rupert Giles for, "A Class Act productions," in their ongoing presentation of Buffy The Vampire Slayer: A Reader’s Theatre Parody, from March 2010-July 2013.

In November 2011, he made his directoral debut, directing "Star Trek Live Onstage: The Trouble with Tribbles," also for "A Class Act." He went on to direct 14 of the next 17 episodes of that live stage show.

Each Christmas you can also catch him at the historic Pythian Castle where he performs in a, "Night of the Dueling Santas," a Christmas dinner show of his own writing. He has been the Ghost Tour Guide for the castle since 2010.

He has been featured on The Discovery Channel, SYFY Channel, The History Channel, NPR.

He is the founder of Harvest Moon Productions and oversees events ranging from concerts to straight plays. He is currently writing a book called "Ghostly Tales From Pythian Castle," which hopefully will see production at some point in 2014.

In 2013 he was cast as Dr. Howard Lagrasse in the 5 episode silent Horror web series SHADOW BOUND, for Arcane Productions. Most recently he was cast in a role in the feature film EVERYTHING, for Parallax Studio.

19 Comments

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  • They can make additional money by running the show on broadcast CBS if they just start the first season when the second season starts on CBS all access. They could also run it on Syfy. The Walking Dead and Sex and the City were on pay services and the are now in broadcast syndication.

  • They can make additional money by running the show on CBS broadcast or Syfy. They can start the first season on air when the second season starts online. The Walking Dead is in broafcast syndication as is Sex and the City. There’s precedence for a pay service show running old episodes on broadvast TV.

  • Of cource its goto be profitable and for us pay per view is the way but dont forget us fans in uk and world wide sky im shaw would invest .i would think first season ppv in us tben sindicate if a suksess we hope i just want good star trek on our tv

  • I agree wholeheartedly with your article.

    I’ve been really shocked lately by all the childish reactions of people acting like multi-million dollar projects should be made just to hand it to them on a silver platter completely free. I don’t understand that entitlement. If you want to consume a product, you pay for it.

    It costs less than a drink at a bar, for crap’s sake. People pour cash into fan projects and yet now they complain when it’s the real deal?

    And let’s not even get started on the people clamoring for mass pirating of the series to avoid paying five bucks. (Facebook is full of those.) Disgusting.

  • For me this is a good thing, it’s showing the new form of video entertainment, streaming. By CBS putting it out where actual viewership will dictate it’s survival. I dislike the greed in this country but in this case it’s entertainment that you make the choice if watching. This is simple supply and demand and to produce a quality production for fans to buy. I am a cord cutter who’s enjoying finding things I want to watch and paying only for that and nothing else . This is the future of home entertainment and how fitting that Star Trek is at the fore front of this new frontier!!

  • Well, Modern Family is a runaway hit, and it’s not an access only show… So for cbs to charge extra on top of already high cable bills; is just greed. Plain and simple

  • It’s simple capitalism, if people don’t watch it because of the pay per view service, then it won’t make money. If it looks like the only way for them to make money is from commercials while it’s on regular tv, then that’s how it is. I will say from the reaction of the people who want to watch it, it’s not going to work out for cbs

  • I will pay the 5.99 a month for Star Trek. Its definitely worth it to me to get Star Trek again on TV or whatever. I pay 150.00 a month for direct tv so I can dvr the show I can’t watch because of my work schedule. So I have no problem paying for something I want to watch. Btw I pay 7.99 a month now to Netflix so I can watch all the other star trek’s so what’s the difference?

  • I don’t understand how any Star Trek fan can get so upset about CBS decision to make money on such an iconic series, especially when you know damn well that you’ve invested A LOT MORE than $5.99 on Star Trek items!!! Admit it – All of us die-hard fans have been hoping & praying for a new Star Trek! Now that time is FINALLY here, Be grateful! I for one don’t want to pay either, but you can be damn sure I will anyways because I’ve been waiting for this announcement for a long time!!!
    One thing I do have to disagree with, is only airing it in the states!? This isn’t right! They have a year to make it right so let’s hope they include ALL Star Trek Family of Fans to enjoy this special occasion TOGETHER!!!
    “Star Trek Fans Unite, For a brand new chapter for us to embark upon is coming”! – Peace & Long Life to you all ✌ Your fellow loyal Trekkie,
    Sarah BG AKA MissGhost ❤

  • The Star Trek proposed by CBS will no longer be available to the entire financial structur of viewers around the world. Those disposed or living in abject poverty might never know or see it’s hopes and beliefs of a better future. In the 1960s I lived in the poorer neighborhood of Dayton, Ohio. My father was a great parent but he worked two or three jobs to keep our family together. Back when television was free -Captain Kirk- became a second father figure. I learned much about ethics, morals and love just by having access to this show!

    The power of Star Trek is the hope to future humanity and not just mindless fighting sex and wars we see in today’s world.

    When I was a teenager my friends and fellow associates became trekies. We did not become street gangster or criminals. Please allow future children access to shows like Star Trek.

    To dream for a better world should be a right of everyone especially those still young and living in poverty. That they might have a chance to become better members in society by taking an interest in thier classroom educationd.

    If you tell us your sense of compassion and reality or concern for your fellow being relates to profit for the products or media projects costing hundreds of millions of dollars then I see you as a profit oriented person alone and not moral.

    Star Trek was and is a moral and ethics force focused concepts and not just media marketing product.

    Roy Rogers, Superman, Buck Rogers and many other heroes of the past related to the public- especially the poor- children could watch and dream and wonder how their life’s would be better in the future.

    So this show ideas -designed by Mr. Roddenberry- how is it going to reach those masses? Can everyone afford it if you first have to pay cable TV maybe 90 dollars and then pay an additional 6 dollars a month for the program.

    The designers of this marketing process have forced financial pressures which will change the dynamics of who can see the show. In the future it will change what kind of person considers themselves a Star Trek fan. Its possible only fan concerned about video gamming or being wealthy will care to see the show 10 or 20 years from now. We will be forced to lose our social consciousness which always a powerful part of each story.

    In the future the Star Trek clubs will die. No grassroots groups no poor child or middle adult will know or care anthing about the idea if Star Trek. StarTrek will be a toy or game for the rich to entertain themselves in a board game or computer game.

    This is a clever method by those powerful over CBS to omit or deny acess to the future Star Trek fans.

    Maybe you feel money is your entitlement or right to be do it say whatever you please. Yet, without it-money- you must see you are nothing but wealthy and you have nothing to share or give the world, no even a dream! So those who are financially well off do have a responsibility to make sure that a great projects or programs like Star Trek is available to everyone because shows like this help educate while offering the entire world alternatives to wars and unfair class or goverment and nobility systems.

    STAR TREK IS NOT JUST TOY OR SHOW FOR THE AMUSEMENT OF THOSE WITH MONEY BUT A PROGRAM THAT BRINGS HOPE TO ALL SOCIAL GROUPS.

    SHERRIEA WILLIAMS

  • Dear author of this opinion piece. No one will be boycotting. We will all be pirating.

    As for cutting our noses to spite our faces, you’ve got that mixed up. CBS is the one doing that by pissing off a huge potential customer base.

  • Never in a million years will I pay for it!! This is exactly why I pirate all of my TV shows and movies. The money that they would make on broadcast television with commercials would be the equivalent of what they would make screwing everyone out of 6$/month. Not to mention $6 a month to watch just one TV show is outrageous! CBS doesn’t have one single thing on their pay per view channel that I have any interest in watching other than Star Trek, which makes their services of no value at all. Their pay per view subscription clearly isn’t doing as well as they wanted it to so they’re desperately trying anything they can to keep it alive!

  • And fedup, that’s why you can’t complain when television is all Honey boo boo and Kardashians. When you’re stealing the programming you get no say in what’s made.

  • And it’s not just one TV show. That gives you access to thousands of hours of programming including the entire trek television catalog.

  • I completely agree with the Nerd. $5.99 a month is less than most VOD movies. But I guess the entitled, who believe the world owes them a living, those whom Worf would say are “without honor,” probably pirate everything they watch anyway. There will be enough of us honest people, who respect the efforts of the cast and crew and will pay the fee, that the new Trek will be very successful as long as it lives up to the standards established by the previous shows. Live long and prosper!

  • Sherriea,

    I wrote this stort and I assure you, I am not a wealthy person.  Not that there is anything wrong with having money.  I live in a small one bedroom apartment and work a full time as well as two part time Jobs living paycheck to paycheck.  Do I occasionally have a small bit of expendable income?  Sure, but for the most part I struggle with bills like everyone else. 

    I also have the same emotional attachment to Star Trek and it characters.  The show has changed my life and I don’t use that term lightly.    When Leonard Nimoy died my heart broke.  It still hurts.  Please see these stories I wrote for Word of the Nerd.  
    https://wordofthenerdonline.com/2015/03/yesterday-i-said-goodbye-to-my-friend-leonard-nimoy/

     https://wordofthenerdonline.com/2015/02/a-message-to-mr-leonard-nimoy/

    Star Trek means the world to me and always will.  Having said that I completely understand why CBS is proceeding the way that they are.  Trekkies will have a direct hand in its success.   Our subscriptions will decide it’s future, not ad dollars. 

    As for not being able to afford it, thus is an opportunity to bring Trekkies together again.  Star Trek can once again be appointment television.  Take THE WALKING DEAD for example.  My parents do not have cable.  Every Sunday night they come to my apartment and I cook dinner for them and we watch the show together.  I treasure that time.  It can happen much the same way now with the new Star Trek series. 

    CBS is bringing us new Star Trek.  The broadcast platform is irrelevant.   We should be excites about the future of the franchise. 

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