Report: Jonathan Frakes Star Trek TV Pitch Never Actually Pitched

A few weeks ago Star Trek: The Next Generation’s Jonathan Frakes made news by talking about a supposed Star Trek TV pitch he made. Now a new report citing a rep for Frakes, casts some doubt on that supposed pitch. Details below.

 

Frakes Star Trek pitch not pitched?

A couple of weeks ago we reported that Jonathan Frakes was quoted by UGO saying:

I had a Star Trek that I developed for TV, and we were told in no uncertain terms that they said no to Bryan Singer TV Star Trek, they said no to a William Shatner TV Star Trek. They feel at CBS Paramount that they don’t want to make the same mistake that’s been made before, which was watering down the brand by having a TV show and a movie.

That quote got lots of coverage across the web. Since then TrekMovie reported that the supposed Bryan Singer Star Trek pitch was actually never pitched. Now a new report puts some doubt on the supposed Frakes pitch. Following up to find out of if there were any gay characters in his Star Trek proposal, AfterElton reports:

Frakes’ reps tell me that he was misquoted by a lot of media outlets, and the series never got as far as being pitched to CBS/Paramount at all.

So it seems the reports that picked up on the first story and said things like "CBS rejected Star Trek pitches from Shatner, Frakes and Singer" were totally off. It is unclear why all this confusion, but TrekMovie will try and get a clarification with our next Frakes interview.

The only pitch that Frakes has talked about in public is his (apparently tongue in cheek) idea for "The Rikers In Space" (see video below of "Reunion of the Rikers" from 2009 Star Trek The Next Generation Movie Collection).

 

Shatner pitch did happen

Of the three Star Trek pitches talked about, so far the only one that TrekMovie has been able to confirm actually happened was the one from William Shatner, Star Trek’s original Kirk. Shatner’s concept, which he pitched while Star Trek Enterprise was still on the air, was a prequel with Kirk and Spock set at Starfleet Academy. That pitch was not picked up and eventually morphed into the 2007 novel "Star Trek: Academy – Collision Course," written by Shatner with Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stevens. TrekMovie will have hopefully have an update with more details on this pitch soon.


Shatner’s Trek pitch evolved into novel

 

newest oldest
Number 3

always wanted to be 1st

too bad Frakes’ or Singer’s ideas didn’t go any further, we might still have a Trek on T.V. to hold us over between movies.

TParadox

“Watering down the brand with a tv show and a movie?”

It was a glorious time with DS9 and Voyager humming and a TNG movie every so often.

rebecca

I would TOTALLY watch Rikers in Space!

Third Remata'Klan

@2: You’re absolutely right. And while I tend to think Voyager was on autopilot for the last couple of seasons (rather than soaring, like it should have, when DS9 left), I really, really enjoyed Enterprise.

I want a new series!

Z3R0B4NG

i could totally see Rikers in Space working as a comic like Simpsons/Futurama/Amarican Dad/Family Guy/Southpark

they would never need to build an expensive set, but we would have all the original Voices.

MAKE IT SO!

To paraphrase Anthony Pascale., Star Trek is best on television because that’s where more complex storytelling could take place. I doubt Paramount would relese a big screen story like “The City On The Edge of Forever” or TNG’s beloved “The Inner Light.” With the return of Futurama and Family Guy, one wonders why Star Trek with its huge fan base doesn’t get a TV series. The ideas from Bryan Singer indicate that Star Trek was big to major talents in Hollywood. One can only hope for a day when a new Star Trek is on TV.

Thanks Anthony for the video. Marina Sirtis says, “old baldy.” Ha, ha, ha. Maybe someday she rub her fingers over Patrick’s head. I miss the TNG cast. Live long and prosper, TNG.

Craiger

So if Frakes is right we wont see a new Trek TV series until the movie series is over? Did Paramount say the new cast would have three movies? If so we we wont see a new Trek series until when 2015 or 2016?

Browncoat1984

With Stargate ending and with how much I loved the 2009 Trek movie and realizing how much I had missed Trek, I realize I’m more than ready for a new, fresh Trek series.

Cap'n Calhoun

@Z3R0B4NG “i could totally see Rikers in Space working as a comic like [..] Southpark”

Really?

“Oh my gosh! You killed Data! You petaQs!”

Vultan

#6

Agreed.

And since you cited Futurama and Family Guy as revived series with large, noisy fan bases, one would think we could AT LEAST get an animated Trek series out of CBS! Of course, then there’s Les Moonves… but even his little, sci-fi hating mind should be able to see what is currently working for Star Wars—and with a Tron animated series on the horizon—it could and should also work for Trek.

leschwartz

Anthony,

Explain this to me, I am not an “industry insider”.

Will Paramount, or whomever owns the rights, never produce a TV show again, because they only want to do movies?

Thanks,

Leslie

Jack

6. I’ve said this before, but we got more complex storytelling/character development in Star Trek II than in several whole seasons of say, TNG, or Voyager.

Craiger

Anthony, 2015 or 2016 before their is a new Trek series? Or would a Trek series be too expensive for TV?

from what I remember, Bill pitched “The Return” to Paramount (which later became the book of the same name).

When I read that one when originally published, I loved it and it actually read kinda like a script..I’ve read many bad ones in my lunchtime. If any of you here haven’t read it (or any of the Kirk novels that Bill wrote), please do…it really does feel like the best of Trek for sure.

I’m thinking that Bill may have been sorry that Kirk had got killed off at the end of Generations..I am for sure. So, he wanted to write something that could bring Kirk back.

Red Dead Ryan

I wonder if the reason why William Shatner took so long to see J.J Abrams’ movie had to do with his proposal being rejected by Paramount?

The movie did feature Kirk and Spock at the Academy. Bill could’ve felt cheated by Paramount’s decision to go with Bob Orci and Alex Kurtzman instead.

A new Trek series of any form on TV would be awesome to see again, but I’m not holding my breath. First, economic fortunes have to turn around, and visual effects costs have to come down to a certain point. The majority of viewers of anything remotely sci-fi-ish today expect those complicated Hollywood level CGI action sequences in large quantities, or else the channel gets flipped, unfortunately…

Red Dead Ryan

17.
…..

On top of that, CBS is obsessed with reality shows and crime dramas. Les Moonves is more likely to ask Charlie Sheen back before he allows Trek on his network.

My prediction: We won’t see “Star Trek” back on television until at least the next decade. No animated series and definitely no live action shows. And I’d venture a guess that we’ll see a drop in merchandising as well.

Tiberius III

2. Those years were great, but what I remember most fondly was the time in between STV and VI when we still had classic Trek in the movies and TNG really in its groove on TV.

MJ

Anthony, any chance you could use a different photo of Frakes on these stories. This photo looks like he was caught at an after-hours party at 4 AM. :-)

Magic_Al

Obviously, launching TNG while the TOS film series was going was not “watering down the brand”. Nor was launching DS9 while TNG was going. As long as each iteration is new and different in style and setting, they grow the audience not cannibalize it.

Watered down is when the films and TV series become too similar to previous films and TV series.

TNG was able to incorporate the social changes between the 60s and the 80s to show an even more optimistic future. Maybe it’s too hard to imagine an even better 25th century because things are going backwards and we’re seeking comfort instead of unknowns. If Star Trek has become a vehicle for nostalgia instead of optimism it can’t work.

17, 19 and 21. Good points.

One wonders if the franchise has worn out its welcome in the mainstream cultural eye. The 2012 movie box office returns will be quite telling…

Sebastian

So glad Shatner’s Starfleet Academy book “Collision Course” did NOT make it as a series. I read it, and IMO, it was dreadful. The words coming from the Kirk and Spock characters did not, in ANY way, sound or feel like any other incarnation of the characters. ST: 09 was much more spot on with finding the characters ‘inner voices’ and getting them right.

Personally, I hope they don’t do another series anytime soon. It’d be making the same mistake of over saturation that was made in the late ’90s/early 2000s. But if they do? I’d like to see Robert Meyer Burnett’s idea of a “Last Days of the Roman Empire”- style Federation scenario, in a far-off future of Starfleet.
That one sounded intriguing…

“My Zimbabwe.”

LOL

Buzz Cagney

The Rikers In Space sounds great to me. Preferably without the spacesuits.

@22
Well,Trek’09 was a big hit,so there’s clearly life left in the series.
As for TV Trek,that remains to be seen.Fans of the movie may not follow a TV show that doesn’t feature Kirk,Spock and Co. or accept other actors in those roles.Paramount has a tough job trying to get the movie’s audience to watch any new Trek on TV.

I like both Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sertis, but I would be afraid of a “Riker’s In Space” type of show. My chief concern is that it would become a kind of soap opera, focusing on the relationship of the Riker’s. I can envision scenes like Will and Deanna stranded on some hostile planet, the situation grim, the couple looking torn and tattered, Will holding Deanna in his arms as the syrupy music swells in the background, ending in a long passionate kiss (lucky guy, however). This sort of Trek never did it for me in any of the series. I guess I’m just more of a superficial action adventure kinda guy…

Kirk, James T.

I thank those at CBS/Paramount to hold off from producing yet another run of the mill TV series with Star Trek in the title. It needs this spoon-feeding approach so that gradually fans want more and it has worked, by and large fans are frustrated and in need of Star Trek – whether or not it’s JJ Abrams style of Star Trek or not doesn’t really matter, Star Trek is once again wanted by it’s fans.

Producing yet another TV show after Enterprise and the two TNG flops would have only deepened the growing tear in the fabric of the Star Trek universe.

The only viable way to have done Star Trek was done in 2009 and all credit to Paramount and CBS for taking a considered approach to Star Trek these days rather than the days of old when ramming it all down our throats was the norm.

Damian

18–Have to agree. If there is one thing I have learned about Moonves, it is that he is not a fan of Star Trek. He has no interest in any new Star Trek TV series. I actually think any new Star Trek TV would have to wait until the company is sold or he retires. As long as he is in charge, I truly believe the movies will be the only game in town.

I guess what happened here is some statements were taken out of context. I guess what Frakes meant is that there was an overall attitude at CBS that they did not want to develop a TV series at the same time as the movies were getting going, and not so much at a specific idea.

robie

@ Magic Al
” If Star Trek has become a vehicle for nostalgia instead of optimism it can’t work.”

That is the best advice I have ever read about a new Trek show. Well said!

Woulfe

The reason that there will never be another Star Trek TV series can be summed up in two words

Leslie Moonves

Read up on his hate toward not just toward sci-fi but Star Trek itself, sure he loves the MONEY he’s getting from it, but that’s all he cares about, the bottom line, if the show costs too much, it’s not gonna happen, PERIOD

Not on his watch anyway, so the only way a new Trek series will happen if for the guy to die from a heart attack & someone else takes over, and from what I’ve seen & heard, he plans on living a long healthy life

Anyone feel like waiting a few DECADES ?

Kaiju

21. Magic_Al

“Maybe it’s too hard to imagine an even better 25th century because things are going backwards and we’re seeking comfort instead of unknowns.”

That’s a valid point, however it’s a good argument for why we need some bold Trek-style optimism, the same way that it worked during the turmoil of the late ’60s. The problem would be getting the studio execs to greenlight such a series today.

Captain Ransom

i would trade these awful jj abrams trek movies for a tv series any day, especially a series about the USS Titan.

i think the best place for any new series to start is just after the events of nemesis. no more going back before kirk nonsense. FORWARD!

Phil

@31. Just a bit of hostility there, Charlie? What you are describing here would apply to any show, not just a new Trek series, and yeah, it’s going to take another box office hit or two, or renewed interest in other Trek related stuff before it hits the small screen again. Keeping in mind that Trek has not been on network TV since TOS, if and when it does resurface, it will be in syndication.

Phil

It would be interesting to know, now that most post TOS programming is available on line, how much it’s being accessed and viewed. Is there enough interest in Trek related stuff, compared to other shows or franchises available on line? This might be a good indicator for how much demand there might be for new programming….

Red Dead Ryan

21.
….

“If Star Trek has become a vehicle for nostalgia instead of optimism it can’t work.”

True, though unfortunately, if a new series is commisioned, fans will be clamoring for guest appearances by the likes of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy as a way of “passing the torch”.

Craiger

I read that Moonves liked the creative direction Season 4 of Enterprise took but decided to cancel it because of the ratings. On CBS Enterprise would need at least an 8.0 every week to stay on the air.

Craiger

http://www.trekweb.com/stories.php?aid=41ee74e2ad58a&cid=41eea5b4caa52&threadView=2&clickReply=1&submit=submit

“I think the show this year has been much better [creatively] than last year. I like the changes that have been made. … [As for the ratings,] when you’re dealing with UPN, you’re dealing with different expectation levels.”

James T. West (no comma)

I always thought that Star Trek: Enterprise should’ve been Captain Robert April or Chris Pike in NCC-1701, with Spock as a crewman, Number One, Tyler, the velour crewnecks, laser pistols…

Taking the “Year One” approach…

T'Cal

Frakes has always projected that he really cares about Star Trek. His work as an actor and director supports that feeling. I get the same vibe from LeVar Burton as well. I would love to see the two of them put in charge of TV Trek set in the post-NEM era although not necessarily TNG only based. There’s so much going on in that era what with TNG, DS9, VOY, Titan, and even New Frontiers novels that a big scale story told in a miniseries could include a little from some of those. That, of course, could lead to a weekly series ala BSG. Ensamble cast stories like modern Trek work so much better on TV. Let JJA continue to tell the triad-based tales on the big screen.

T'Cal

The idea of a Trek anthology show appeals to me as well. I envision it much like the TV series “Police Story” from the 70s and 80s in which the episodes were about Officers with the LAPD in various assignments. Rarely were characters brought back as each episode told a story from a different perspective. Trek lends itself to such story telling and could expand on it using the various eras and established characters, planets, ships, etc.

23. Sebastian

“ST: 09 was much more spot on with finding the characters ‘inner voices’ and getting them right. ”

That’s funny, I thought the EXACT opposite, actually. I thought Trek ’09 as much resembled Trek as much I resemble Gary Coleman. I thought the characters themselves were out of character.

I’ve read almost all of Bill’s books and I think for the most part, they sound like the characters that I’ve known for the 35 years of my life. I did read…er, try to read one book a few years back that was sooo bad and out of characer, Shadows on the Sun by Michael Jan Friedman, that I couldn’t finish it.

Factchecker

@39 – “I always thought that Star Trek: Enterprise should’ve been Captain Robert April or Chris Pike in NCC-1701, with Spock as a crewman, Number One, Tyler, the velour crewnecks, laser pistols…

Taking the “Year One” approach…”

Agreed 1000%. Well said – a missed opportunity. I Vulcan salute you.

rm10019

39, 43 – I grok this as well. I think this is what most fans expected, only to see the Akiraprise as the first image of the series….

Shannon Nutt

Shatner’s pitch was basically the extension of an idea that Harve Bennett came up with that was SUPPOSED to be Star Trek VI. But then fans flipped out thinking the original crew was going to be replaced (that was never Bennett’s intent) and we got THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY instead. Bennett was so hurt by fans reaction that he said “goodbye” to Star Trek (he was asked to produce STAR TREK VI and turned it down…Nimoy stepped in).

Ironically, Abrams’ STAR TREK isn’t far from what Harve had in mind.

Quatlo

They have all always been after a $ first and foremost. So what, big deal.

TJ Trek

For guys who may have already mentioned this……I agree

Lets see RIKERS IN SPACE done as a Futurama style animated comedy. That would totally be awesome. I think it is an okey time in the history of the franchise for Trek geeks to poke a little fun at the franchise, at themselves (ourselves) and have fun with Star trek.

Of course, it wouldn’t be Canon, but it would be really fun. Here’s an even better idea…..start a Star Trek network, with two flag shows. have RIKERS IN SPACE, and also a more serious canon based outing of the franchise. that would be cool. Then lastly for the network, let the best of the best of podcasts get there own half hour show on the network. Trekcast, STOaked, Trekmovie.com the show, etc. I think the whole thing could work beautifully. If you also played sci-fi outings by Trek veterens (Fringe, etc.) then that would add a really cool element to the netowrk. Just an idea.

T'Cal

Animated series??? Outstanding idea! I’ve heard Brent Spiner’s imitation of Sir Patrick and it’s spot on. We know that Brent is available since….the incident.

In all seriousness, I would love to see a Trek animated series in the vein of Batman: TAS, Gargoyles, Justice League, etc.

Phil

@45. Shannon Nutt – April 27, 2011

…Ironically, Abrams’ STAR TREK isn’t far from what Harve had in mind….

That’s the scary thing, Bennett mouths off about that just often enough that it’s made me wonder of he’s planning on suing Paramount and Bad Robot. That would postpone a few things for a while, now….

skyjedi

The plot of the academy years was a lot like that used in the starfleet academy game. Instead of Kirk you have some other dude and another vulcan, but the whole racist angle they thought up was there, the xenophobia was there etc. I don’t think they plagiarized Harve’s script the basic resemblance is extrapolated from Roddenberry.