Abrams To Focus On Paramount Until New Trek Released – CBS Bringing Stewart Show To US

The first ever article on this site was about the announcement that Star Trek producer/director J.J. Abrams had inked two major deals after his contract with Disney ended. One deal was with Paramount for multiple pictures and the other was with Warner Brothers for TV. Since then Abrams has been juggling his TV and film duties, but according to Slate.com Paramount is now getting the better part of the deal. Abrams reportedly got $10 million a year from Warner but has only announced a single project (a medical drama for HBO) in the 14 months since the deal was struck. Slate notes that another TV project will soon be forthcoming, but that the new Star Trek film at Paramount "is going to become [Abrams] life" for the next 15 months. Slate quotes a studio exec saying of the dueling deals, "somebody had to get hurt" and that somebody appears to be Warner Brothers. Another development may make Abrams even more important to Paramount soon….

Viacom tout JJ and franchises
Yesterday Variety reported that Viacom is preparing for a future without Steven Spielberg who came over to the Paramount family after last year’s acquisition of Dreamworks. Although Viacom and Paramount have benefited from the deal since that time (such as this summer’s mega hit Transformers), the relationship with Dreamworks chiefs Steven Spielberg and David Geffen has not been working out. Viacom Chairman Philippe Dauman told investors this week their departure would be "immaterial" to the studio bottom line and cited J.J. Abrams’ Trek and ‘Cloverfield’ projects as examples of films in the Paramount pipeline proving that they are not reliant on the Dreamworks team. The Dreamworks departures would be likely to make Abrams even more important to Paramount’s future. Dauman also told investors that Paramount would focus even more on "franchise pictures," which is likely good news for the future of Trek feature films.

CBS Adapts Stewart’s Eleventh Hour for US
In other Warner Brothers TV news, the studio just sold a US adaptation of the UK science investigation series Eleventh Hour to CBS. The original version starred TNG’s Patrick Stewart. According to Variety CBS won a bidding war with ABC with the final deal being cited as high as $30 millioin for 13 episodes. The new show is being touted as a new kind of X-Files and will be produced by Jerry Bruckheimer who has brought CBS boat loads of money with his CSI franchise. No word yet on who will star in the series, but it is unlikely to be Stewart. However, it is a welcome sign to see the license holder for Trek on TV (CBS) embracing more genre-ish Television. Just a few months ago they even brought back the post-Apocalyptic Jericho after it was canceled…much of  which was due to a fan campaign revolving around sending cans of nuts to CBS.


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As a lawyer familiar with the entertainment industry, what with my ties to Mr. Mugatu, I could have negotiated a better deal for Warner Brothers than $30, presumably US, for thirteen episodes. Why, with my negotiation skills, I could have gotten them nearly $43.26 for 11 or 12 episodes and each additional episode at $7.27 apiece.

(sorry AP,couldn’t resist)

I loved this series when it aired on BBC-A, but what made it great was that it was real science. If they are going to go with an X-Files twist, why even bother to license Eleventh Hour, just make the show independently. But here’s hoping CBS can convince Patrick Stewart to sign on.

Hey Jackie,

when you’re driving and you see a dead lawyer and skunk lying in the middle of the road, do you know what the difference is between the two?
Answer: The brake marks on the road in front of the skunk!!

This sounds like good news. Both Alias and Lost started out very strong, but both went downhill big time after Abrams turned his attention elsewhere. Looks like he will be focusing on Trek.

Hmmm… interesting to note that Paramount is “not reliant on the Dreamworks team.” Was that Spielberg just getting pushed into second place? Go J.J.! Is old Spielberger losing his steam? Will JJ Abrams usurp his position in Hollywood? Will we see a fight between E.T. and Horta?

Harry love the lawyer joke! Shouldn’t it be skid marks? Sorry Jackie! As Mugatu’s lawyer the least of your worries will be me and Harry beating up on you. I hope he’s paying you well! (just not with my good silverware) And here’s that restraining order on Horta. I’m tired of patching giant acid holes in my sheetrock.

Spielberg is a boutique director, JJ is a meat & poatoes, do it and do it right type of guy. Both are great but give me more meat. (that doesn’t sound right, strike that, just say JJ will get the job done, ok, hey, you’re typing in second person). Go JJ.

good to see that Trek is his main prority….Boy i hope he pulls it off….

If its great…(i mean really great) I can see it doing around $200 million in the US and maybe $100 million overseas….


Both the “CBS Bringing Stewart Show To US” headline and “CBS Brings Stewart’s Eleventh Hour to the US” sub-head are very misleading, as they imply CBS will be airing the original BBC show, which they are not.

It would be more accurate to say “CBS Remaking Stewart Show for US” (or “Adapting”).

BTW, I caught the original “11th Hour” series when it aired on BBC America, and while it was as mixed a bag as your average season of The X-Files, it was quite good – and Stewart was superb.

P.S.: Dauman is clearly delusional is he thinks losing Spielberg/Dreamworks would be “immaterial”.

Speaking of X-Files, why doesn’t someone just bring that series back with a new cast. After all, Mulder merely found the files of his predecessor & opened them because of the abduction of his sister by aliens. Someone else could pick up the reins where they left off. I really thought they would make one or two movies to wrap up the open-ended ending, but I guess that’s never gonna happen. What “is” Chris Carter doing these days anyway?

Wouldn’t be surprised if he screws Trek over the way he has with Alias and Lost.

#10 Speaking of X-files….

I had thought I had heard of a sequel in the works,
so I checked imdb.com

Look for ‘Untitled X-Files Sequel’. Not much info…2009.

Dear HB,

Preposterous! Who was driving that car? Get me the number of that skunk. I believe he needs proper legal representation in this hour of his emotional distress what with the failed attempt on his life.

Dear HJ,

Horrendous! I’m afraid that it is you that will have to make reparations to my client Mr. Horta. It seems that your cheap Klingon sheetrock have caused him to misjudge his speed and now he has pulled a muscle. Or whatever you call ’em. Not to mention severe acid loss.

#7:”Hmmm… interesting to note that Paramount is “not reliant on the Dreamworks team.” Was that Spielberg just getting pushed into second place?”


What it refers to is that under Grey, Paramount didn’t develop much of a production slate of its own. When the studio acquired Dreamworks, Grey’s team tended to try to take credit for much of Dreamworks’ already-in-development own production schedule – basically, Paramount would have had few decent releases during the last year or so without Dreamworks. This was, needless to say, another thing for the Dreamworks folks to resent.

In that sense, Paramount had become overly “dependent” on Dreamworks. The fact that Par now has a decent development and production slate of non-Dreamworks films isn’t a relegation of Spielberg “getting pushed into second place” (no one with a brain will be doing that anytime soon) but just the studio recovering from a really fallow period.

Do we have to announce “first” every time? It makes all the posters look immature.

I do look forward to seeing the Eleventh Hour. Could be a lot of fun.

“It makes all the posters look immature.”

Undignified! Generalizing! Litigation is forthcoming you doo-doo head. Calling a man of letters immature.

Is it quite clear I need to find something productive to do?

Dennis you’re right, no one in their right mind would relegate Spielberg to the b-list anytime soon. It just seemed like the wording was suggestive of Paramount thinking maybe they WERE too reliant on Dreamworks, and needed to vocalize the idea that they weren’t. Almost as if to say “Spielberg’s not the only ace we got up our sleeve! Now we got Abrams!”

The jist of the article was that Viacom was “preparing for a future without them” (Spielberg and Geffen). Looks a lot to me like JJ will be expected to deliver bigtime, and Dreamworks is a tough act to follow. But I think he can pull it off. If Trek XI is a big hit, he’ll be one step ahead of the game already by knocking a Star Trek movie out of the park, something that hasn’t happened in quite a while…

Jackie how dare you insult my Klingon contractor’s work and materials! I’ll have you know that rotten Horta also made off with most of the prescription painkillers in my medicine cabinet and polished off my vodka. I’ll see you and BOTH of your “clients”at the Klingon Tribunal. Bring your universal translator.

” the new Star Trek film at Paramount “is going to become [Abrams] life” for the next 15 months”

I never doubted this. I hope that in the future he somehow avoids spreading himself too thin, like, say Jerry Bruckheimer. A lot of those projects — A LOT OF THOSE PROJECTS — seem unpolished. Sure, he’s making literally billions for the studio. But, don’t you want to have some really fine movies to point at in your old age?

(and for Bruckheimer fans, I only pick on him because it’s incredibly doubtful my criticisms will stop him from humping supermodels on piles of cash)

I created a monster(s)… Yet i love it. Mugatu update coming soon

It may have something to do with that Spielberg is against Paramount only releasing HD-DVD and not Blu-ray.

Spielberg is a Blu-ray supporter. I read some were that the HD-DVD deal did not include Spielberg directed movies which would be released on Blu-ray.

What do you get when you cross a Horta with a Mugatu?

Answer: (at this point I wish I knew how to post a picture of my ex-girlfriend!)
Nah, on second thought, that’s doing the Horta a disservice!

I believe it was a mistake for Paramount/Viacom to take the stance they did with Spielberg. Almost every single one of his films end up turning a nice profit regardless of how they are received critically. While I have faith that Star Trek will be a huge success for Paramount and J.J. Abrams, losing Spielberg would be big. He has two additional films in pre-production while he is working on Indy 4 and Paramount could be losing a bit of cash because of it. Spielberg will never have an issue finding a studio to work for the rest of his career, he’s just been too successful. Abrams again, is still too untested in the movie business.

Whether or not the issue was Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD seems rather minor. I think Paramount has made a huge mistake releasing on one format. Both formats may end up losing out in the end, so it seems to be a non-issue. Spielberg would be just as happy to release upcoming projects with Universal as he did throughout the bulk of his career. We shall see what happens.