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.