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StarTrek.com Team Laid Off – Future Of Official Site In Doubt [UPDATED]

OK this just came out of nowhere. The last news item for the week at StarTrek.com, the official site for Star Trek, is titled “Goodbye from the STARTREK.COM Team” In short it states that CBS Interactive is restructuring and that the entire StarTrek.com team “has been eliminated. Effective immediately.” It also states “We don’t know the ultimate fate of this site, which has served millions of Star Trek fans for the last thirteen years.” There is also a big banner on the homepage that says ‘FAREWELL.’

UPDATED: Deja vu?
TrekMovie.com has learned that the StarTrek.com cut was part of a larger restructuring and cost cutting at CBS Interactive. Apparently there were dozens of people laid off across CBS in addition to the StarTrek.com team. But StarTrek.com seems to be the only case where an entire team running a specific site was let go. StarTrek.com is somewhat unique within the CBS empire as the only site for a legacy brand (for example, CBS continue to syndicate and license “I Love Lucy,” but have no dedicated site for that brand). It could be that some bean counter took a look StarTrek.com it and realized that since there was no currently running first run Star Trek TV series and that the new Star Trek movie was a Paramount property, that the site was expendable. Two years ago when Viacom split, Paramount Digital (the former home for StarTrek.com) was shut down…putting the future StarTrek.com into doubt. With CBS Corporation being the new home for the Star Trek brand, CBS Interactive decided to take StarTrek.com over. It is possible the same thing might happen again. However, that time the team wasn’t let go.

UPDATE 2: Official Statement from CBS

News of layoffs at CBS Interactive were reported across the web, mostly focusing on the firings at CBS News (conflicting reports have it at either seven or twenty CBSNews.com employees fired). CBS issued the following statement about the layoffs, but there was no mention of StarTrek.com:

Along with the core success of CBSsports.com, new online sites from Last.fm to Dotspotter have infused invaluable DNA into the division, and are actively translating their experience in community-building to all of the Company’s properties and content. In the coming year, we intend to build on our success by expanding on that strategy of building communities online. Part of achieving this goal is reorganizing the way we do business to align the division’s workforce with our new vision, including increasing our operations in the Bay Area — the heart of so much of this activity. We’re confident that CBS Interactive’s focus on consumer involvement will help the Division experience another record year of growth in ’08 and beyond

StarTrek.com was running out of the LA Area, so it is possible it will be reborn in the Bay Area, but it doesn’t appear that any of the current team was offered the opportunity to move. At this point it is still unclear if the site has any future at all.

UPDATE 3 – A Message From Tim Gaskill
StarTrek.com Senior Producer Tim Gaskill made the following statement in the talkback section below

I would just like to pass on a quick note of gratitude to thank the people who supported STARTREK.COM all these years. At this point, it’s still a bit confusing as to what has happened, but maybe it will all make sense in the weeks to come. I hope something lives on in the form of STARTREK.COM, as this is the golden franchise and I can’t really see the site disappearing completely. We shall see.

Thanks to Anthony for his support and his recognition as to what we do/did at ST.COM. It is /was a completely different animal to the independent sites such as this one and he recognizes that.

There will be more news to add soon, so I will wait until more is known, but again, thanks to the fans and their infinite diversity in infinite combinations.

UPDATE 4: Dec 17th Statement Plus More
Read the new official statement and more info in the latest update

Editors Note:
On a personal note, over the 16 months since TrekMovie.com has been active, I have got to know the guys at StarTrek.com. We see each other at all the same events and email each other regularly. I consider them friends and colleagues and Marc Wade, Tim Gaskill, Sandy Stone, Larry Nemecek and the rest of the gang are all huge Trek fans who are dedicated to the franchise and the fans. I certainly hope that CBS are not planning on treating Trek just like another one of their TV properties and folding it into CBS.COM, like they do for CSI for example. StarTrek.com has been around since the early days of the Internet over a decade ago (including some time on the MSN Network). Although sites like this one and Memory Alpha have cropped up since, the official site still serves a vital function in the online world of Trek. And that function should have dedicated Trekkies involved. One last note to CBS…couldn’t you have waited until after Christmas?

Save StarTrek.com?
Trekkies love a good campaign. Well the ‘farewell’ article noted:

If you have comments, please send them to editor @ startrek.com – we hope someone at CBS will read them.

I have sent an email letting them know how I feel, maybe you should do the same.

TrekMovie.com will keep track of developments and report them as they are learned.

Sort by:   newest | oldest
December 14, 2007 7:41 pm

Talk about a Merry Christmas!

CmdrR
December 14, 2007 7:43 pm

That so stinks.
Best luck, guys. There will be something better soon, but if this is the end of StarTrek.com, it’s a damn shame.

Aaron R. (Sisko would not agree with the closing of StarTrek.com)
December 14, 2007 7:45 pm

Wow… A sad day indeed….

Driver
December 14, 2007 7:49 pm

Anything to do with the writer’s strike? This is odd since the new film is being made. Unless it’s being revamped.

December 14, 2007 7:49 pm

I just emailed the address the team provided.

Are the powers to be at CBS complete idiots? The worst possible time to pull this. Not only from a business perspective, but pretty damn heartless consider the time of year.

I’m boycotting all CBS products, effective immediately.

Trek1701
December 14, 2007 7:51 pm

Is it a joke?

December 14, 2007 7:52 pm

Who’s making the decisions over at CBS at this time of year? Ebenezer Scrooge?

Andy Patterson
December 14, 2007 7:57 pm

That sucks. Is this idiot Leslie Moonves?

Another Q
December 14, 2007 7:58 pm

Very, very odd indeed. Guess we’ll have to wait to
see exactly what’s up. Thank you TrekMovie.com for
keeping us in the loop. All you do is very appreciated.

Irishtrekkie
December 14, 2007 7:59 pm

have cbs lost their mind ? no i mean really , well i see , they posted an email adress for us to write to , to see if someone in cbs would read it , i am guess trek fans should all do that , and instead of boycotting cbs or just wishing the guys the best of luck , maybe start a save startrek.com campaign ? would it be worth it , i would want to hope so? as does anybody think it would change cbs’s mind ?

Pumpkin
December 14, 2007 8:03 pm

Well, to be honest, while I like the site, I hope they’re restructuring it to add more Star Trek franchise related-content and less “Trek Life” and stuff like that – which I find completely uninteresting.

I stopped visiting the site as frequently when that mess started going up.

I bet they’re restructuring it to have more to do with the movie and to pimp current projects more.

I seriously doubt the future of the site is in question as much as the statement seems to imply. Probably a giant site revamp is in the works and they want to bring in the usual “new talent, new perspective”.

December 14, 2007 8:03 pm

Wow… you guys got a new ST movie coming out and you shut down the official Star Trek site? Strange…

OK, I get it… they will rebuild StarTrek.com to reflect the new movie, and only the new movie, so new people visiting it will only see the new cast and crew. I get it. Throw out the old and make way for the new!

You can count on this. Cause nothing else makes sense about it.

Roddenberry was a peacenik
December 14, 2007 8:06 pm

Okay, that’s just bizarre, to put it politely. I could imagine them doing this maybe three years ago, when the franchise was at its lowest (Enterprise being canceled, Nemesis tanking, and no hope in sight for the ST universe), but they kept things going. They were largely responsible for building interest in Star Trek: Remastered, and they were a constant reminder
that Trek wasn’t dead just yet. Now that things are looking up, and buzz for Trek is slowly building again, they suddenly get the boot? Astonishing

Christopher D. Heer
December 14, 2007 8:07 pm

This is kind of sad. I mean, I wasn’t a regular visitor, but I went from time to time.

I too hope they aren’t just folding it into cbs.com or whatever. On the whole, the network TV sites are just awful: long on Flash, short on content. (In a related note, I’m beginning to think that Flash is the worst thing to happen to the web. Most of these over-Flashed sites are a chore to navigate and half the time I can’t find what I want.)

And of course, the timing is awful. I’m sure they were let go now to avoid having their budget hit next year, but layoffs immediately before the holidays just suck.

We’ll miss you, guys. Well-organized, easy-to-use, attractive sites are hard to find these days and startrek.com was a polished, professional site.

OR Coast Trekkie
December 14, 2007 8:15 pm

Looks like CBS doesn’t want to pay Christmas bonuses.

Goodness, the remaster TOS on the cheap, and now this. If CBS doesn’t want Star Trek, why not just sell the rights to it?

Meh
December 14, 2007 8:18 pm

Who cares that site is useless anyway I wouldn’t be surprised if Anthony is part of the new official Trek site if there is one.

Funny how this place gets us all the info while TREK.com just seem to be sitting on their hands.

December 14, 2007 8:21 pm

THAT SUCKS. The startrek.com team are good people.

Pragmaticus
December 14, 2007 8:33 pm

Are you kidding me? What is WRONG with CBS?!?!?

Robert Bernardo
December 14, 2007 8:35 pm

Terrible news. I like the StarTrek.com website a lot. I wish the best for all the team.

December 14, 2007 8:35 pm

This is absolute bs. These terminations better be for a damn good reason, but I doubt it. Let me guess, the new movie is a reinvigoration of the franchise so they want fresh faces to re-design the site to promote said movie. Out with the old in with the new, right?

Well I was considering buying some more Star Trek seasons in the new year, but I think I’ll use the money towards something else. I don’t really think boycotts make much of a difference, but I’m with Lostrod on this, I’m not buying anymore CBS products until the team is re-hired.

In addition, I think we should all stop visiting StarTrek.com until the team is brought back. In fact, block it on your browser. As of now, and until such time as the team is re-hired, StarTrek.com does not exist.

If this should be final, then to Marc, Tim, Larry, Sandy, Erin, Grace, David and everyone else on the team, thanks for all the work and good luck in your future endeavors. And may CBS burn in industry hell along with UPN.

Ro-Dan
December 14, 2007 8:40 pm

That was a crappy move on CBS’ part. Laying off people just weeks before Christmas….

timyj
December 14, 2007 8:54 pm

Makes me kinda want to avoid the Movie now….its like they are screwing with us fans. They dont really care….its all about getting our money

Pizza
December 14, 2007 9:02 pm

WOW. Utterly speechless.

Eleven days before Christmas. I guess some CBS bean counter has their hand on a keyboard tonight.

Jason Lee
December 14, 2007 9:04 pm

The timing certainly sucks but I can’t say I’m totally surprised. Think about it. The first teaser trailer for the new Trek movie is due to come out with Cloverfield in January, and nobody does trailers these days without including the official movie Website address. The movie is called “Star Trek.” The current StarTrek.com is, to put it bluntly, in the way.

December 14, 2007 9:20 pm

Well I hope that this isn’t true!

SteveinSF
December 14, 2007 9:25 pm

What a piece of crap thing to do to all those people who are now out of work.

Lurkmee
December 14, 2007 9:28 pm

Wow!!!! That’s horrible!!!!!!!!! CBS is crazy!!!! Startrek.com is the best place on the internet!!!!!!

Gary Seven
December 14, 2007 9:28 pm

Hello people. Only #10 seems to be stepping up to the plate. We may not win, but we have to try. Let’s email CBS and express our outrage. Does anybody remember that in a less harsh, less cynical era, thousands of people colloborated on a letter writing campaign to save a little TV show called “Star Trek?”
Can’t we be PRODUCTIVE, and make our collective voices heard to CBS , that we want StarTrek.com restored? I mean, I have no doubt that many would prefer to just argue with each other on this site instead of mobilizing together for constructive action. Or nitpick about what we don’t like about StarTrek.com— now that’s a really good use of our energy.
OK, OK , I will try to remain positive…
Are there any grown ups out there that want to try (of course there are no guarantees of success) to, as the Captain once said, “Make a Difference?”
Let’s each send emails to CBS NOW, and brainstorm efficiently on any other ideas. Anybody out there who has a similar sensibility?

Picard for President
December 14, 2007 9:32 pm

^24 Makes sense. The domain was probably purchased or licensed by Paramount for millions, while Startrek.com produced a mere profit.

But why all the crying about firing those guys just before Christmas? I thought everyone here was too sophisticated to care about fairy tales. Besides, Moonves is Jewish so why should he care what time of year he fires someone?

Picard/Marcus 2008
“Because Obama is Smart but Not that Smart!”

Mr Snuffleupacus
December 14, 2007 9:32 pm

Hasn’t startrek.com been “reborn” before? I would lay money that it’s just going to be revamped to better reflect where the franchise is going…what with the new film on the horizon…

Lindsay
December 14, 2007 9:34 pm

What are they doing?? I’ve been following the site for years, as have countless fans, and this is shocking. To make it a part of the CBS site, like CSI, as they mentioned, would be tragic, and the site would probably lose a lot of its content.

To the person who asked about a campaign changing the mind of CBS…I think it’s possible. Look at what happened when the Jericho fans campaigned for that series. It got brought back. Star Trek is so iconic and so much larger than that, I’m sure the fan response would be huge.

JBS
December 14, 2007 9:36 pm

I used to work for an electronics manufacturer that did most of their lay-offs just before the holidays. It had something to do with budgets, trying to fake profitability, and bean counters.

I agree with Christopher #14: “Well-organized, easy-to-use, attractive sites are hard to find these days and startrek.com was a polished, professional site.”

This sucks. I will miss you startrek.com.

Prologic9
December 14, 2007 9:39 pm

I’m sure they’re nice guys but StarTrek.com was a bad website, and has been for as long as I can remember. Hopefully this will result in a better site taking its place in which case it will have been worth it.

I AM THX-1138
December 14, 2007 9:41 pm

What a completely classless act on CBS’s part.

I remember when I first got online years ago, I wanted to see if there was anything about Star Trek on the internets (!). Keep in mind, this was when all of this was new. I found StarTrek.com. I played the games, chatted a bit, and learned a lot. I found out things about the Star Trek universe I didn’t know and I learned how to get around the web by checking the site out. I owe the good people over there a debt of gratitude for an awful lot of enjoyment that I have derived from the hard work they did for all of us. I usually don’t like this “first” business, but in honor of StarTrek.com, I offer up a heartfelt…..FIRST!!!! For being my first website I explored at home. For being, as far as I know, the first dedicated Star Trek website on the internets. And for just being a bunch of good people who share an interest with me.

Folks, let CBS know just what a thoughtless, greedy, and uncaring move this is. They should know that messing with Star Trek is to wake the sleeping giant.

STOGAMAP
December 14, 2007 9:41 pm

Another thing that many may not foresee is that Gaskill over at CBS Interactive was the a major buffer betwwen CBS and fan-film makers like those of us making Of Gods and Men (I am an associate producer) and New Voyages. What is going to happen now that we no longer have that buffer?

STOGAM AP

toddk
December 14, 2007 9:42 pm

Maybe Star Trek.com will be born again..here..?????????

Non-belligerancy Confirmed
December 14, 2007 9:47 pm

sad stuff. but i think cbs should just pay anthony those dollars to run trekmovie.com his own way to fill the gap. think of the production values!

this site has more passion, comraderie and perverse goofiness then any corporate facade could ever hope for. (never saw bob orci posting over there, BTW.)

i hate it when people lose jobs, but the sleezy commodification of trek that was startrek.com might ‘ve had to die so that a new vision might arise…

note that neither quinto nor shatner was mentioned in this post.

BrandonR
December 14, 2007 9:50 pm

While I find CBSs way of going about this rather rude, considering it’s the Christmas season and we’re only a year away from the rebirth of Star Trek. However, this could also be a positive thing. StarTrek.Com has, as another poster said, not always been very good. It only updates with HUGE news, whereas it should be updating with everything it can find that has to do with Star Trek like an official website should. That is why I consider TrekMovie.Com to be the REAL website for Star Trek.

Jim J (illogical)
December 14, 2007 9:56 pm

CBS pulls another idiotic move. Let’s just hope Paramount doesn’t mess up this movie, they sure as heck can’t seem to get anything else right. Frankly, I enjoyed “The Trek Life.” It was a nice little excursion that was a lot of fun. I also enjoyed the site because it helped keep us up to date on many things Trek, just like this site. Apparently though, today was a good day to die, but not even a Klingon would do this to someone right before Christmas. Bah-humbug!!!!

Gary Seven
December 14, 2007 10:00 pm

WOW. I suppose all of you that saw some flaws in Startrek.com are so pleased that the site is now gone and there is nothing there anymore. Yes, what a great victory. Yes, let us all celebrate that now that there is no official Star Trek site out there at all.
I can only hope that this negative and destructive sensibility, as seen some of the posts above, reflects the negativity of the blowhards on the internet and not the Star Trek fanbase in general.
Yes, it is so much better to curse the darkness then light a candle.
Fools.

To those of you who function differently then the negative blowhards above, and I know you are out there…please email CBS as per the instructions on the Startrek.com website.

miguel
December 14, 2007 10:19 pm

CBS= CRAPPY BS.

I cannot believe that such a dunderhead move was made. Absolutely in line with the criticism that CBS is letting trek go to pot.

FREAKAZOID!
December 14, 2007 10:35 pm

Merry Christmas everyone, now get the $@%& out!

What’s gonna happen to “The Trek Life?” I love that strip!

cd
December 14, 2007 10:39 pm

I have, on more than one occasion, been laid off during the holidays. It is not fun.
I hope this turns out to be an opportunity to go to bigger and better things for those affected. Thanks for all your hard work. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

OneBuckFilms
December 14, 2007 10:39 pm

This is the end of an era

Kigs
December 14, 2007 10:43 pm

Anthony,
What the hell is CBS smoking?! I mean, I understand they want a new look to reflect the new movie project, but fireing all those who have worked hard for 13 years to bring us everything Trek, is beyond any form of resonable thinking. Why are they doing this? Is there a snail mail addy for CBS that we could use for a writing campaign? Sometimes that works better than email- emails don’t show bulk and demand. Paper mail does.

Kigs :)

Sean4000
December 14, 2007 10:50 pm

WOW. Merry Christmas indeed.

They fired the wrong Digital CBS team. :)

Justin
December 14, 2007 10:52 pm

I’m starting a site, but it won’t be ready till in the morning. I’ll keep everyone informed. Let’s unite for this good cause.

miguel
December 14, 2007 10:52 pm

And a Bah Humbug to CBS too!

Prologic9
December 14, 2007 10:55 pm

Re. CBS’s decicion to axe the site; keep in mind the site as it was is still there and will likly remain so until the new films site replaces it.

Also, I can’t for the life of me believe that an entire TEAM of people were being paid full time salaries to maintain Startrek.com. Surely this was just one job of many for them? I mean just think about it, an entire SQUADRON to take on Startrek.com? A whole PLATOON to gaurd the thrown of Startrek.com day and night?

Have any of you ever actually been to Startrek.com?

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