Today CBS Corporation announced their earnings for the third quarter of 2017, the same quarter which included the launch of Star Trek: Discovery on their CBS All Access streaming service. CBS CEO Les Moonves indicated that Discovery, which has already been renewed for a second season, was a key driver to All Access’ success:
The big story for us in [streaming services] is our two major services CBS All Access and Showtime OTT, and our premium content is key to the success to both of them. At All Access we are benefiting from the one-two punch of a full season of the NFL and the launch of Star Trek: Discovery and the results have been phenomenal. Star Trek: Discovery in particular has been a game-changer. The US premiere episode lead to new records for All Access sign-ups in a single week. And in the show’s second week, we topped that record once again. Internationally the show has been a huge hit in many key territories. As a result of this terrific performance, we have already renewed Star Trek: Discovery for what we know will be a great second season.
‘The Twilight Zone’ reboot coming to All Access
Moonves also made news during the call by announcing All Access is expanding its original programming, saying:
Today we are pleased to announce that All Access will be the home of a new version of one of the most iconic television shows of all time, The Twilight Zone. We are sure we will dramatically boost subscribers once again.
No other details about the show were provided or are available currently from CBS. However, according to sources of The Hollywood Reporter, the new Twilight Zone is being developed by Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele and director of the 2017 horror movie Get Out). Marco Ramirez (The Defenders, Daredevil) is reported to be serving as showrunner and writer.
The Twilight Zone first ran from 1959 to 1964. It was revived for three seasons in 1985 and again for one season in 2002. That third revival ran on UPN concurrently with Star Trek: Enterprise, and included DS9 vet Ira Steven Behr as one of the writers and executive producers.
Adding a genre show to All Access should help keep subscribers who joined due to Star Trek: Discovery. The next original All Access show to launch is the comedy No Activity, which debuts on November 11th, the same day as the fall finale for Discovery. In 2018, All Access will launch the sci-fi/drama Strange Angel and the mystery/thriller $1.
Star Trek seen as long-term investment in CBS All Access
When asked a question about how the network handles programming decisions, Moonves talked again about the All Access strategy and how Star Trek fits in:
So the kinds of programming that will be on All Access will be somewhat more premium than would be on CBS. We are spending more on the product. We don’t need as mass an audience that we need on CBS, but it needs to be more specialized. It needs to stand out a bit. I am blessed as a content guy having Showtime and All Access and CBS and CW. We do all sorts of different kinds of programming and we have different development units at each division. In certain cases, like Star Trek there is a jump ball, I will make that decision. In this case we felt we are launching a very important new product, and the good news is, the bet is paying off.
CBS CFO Joseph Ianniello picked up on this theme later in the call, when asked about the networks operating revenue:
If we wanted to manage to margin, we could have sold Star Trek to Netflix and we could have increased our margin in 2017, but we are looking at this as a long-term investment.