CBS is seeking out new life for its All Access streaming service by making it the only way to watch an upcoming Star Trek TV series.
Beyond a special “preview broadcast” of the first episode on CBS’s regular television channel, all episodes of the new Star Trek will appear exclusively on CBS All Access in the United States. (Internationally, CBS says it will distribute the show for “television and multiple platforms around the world.”)
All Access is a $6-per-month streaming service that includes CBS’s live programming feed and on-demand catalog. It is ad supported, despite the subscription charge, and excludes certain programming, such as live NFL football games. The subscription fee applies even if you already get CBS through a pay-TV provider.
CBS hasn’t said much about the series itself, except that it’ll debut in January 2017 with Alex Kurtzman and Heather Kadin as executive producers. Kurtzman co-wrote and produced the last two Star Trek films from 2009 and 2013. Kadin is a producer for several CBS shows including Scorpion and Limitless. This will be the first new Star Trek TV series since Enterprise, which ran from 2001 to 2005.
Why this matters: Making the new Star Trek streaming-only may seem like a bold move on CBS’s part, it might actually make sense for a franchise whose TV series rarely achieved mainstream success in their initial runs. By going off the main network, perhaps CBS can give Trekkies (or Trekkers) the show they want, free from the pressure of needing to pulling massive ratings.
At least that’s the optimistic way to look at it. Whether CBS can produce a Star Trek that hardcore fans will pay for remains to be seen.