Moonves: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ A “Game-Changer” For CBS, ‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Coming To All Access

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.

Moonves calls Discovery a game-changer for CBS All Access

‘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

William Shatner in The Twilight Zone classic “Nightmare at 20,000 feet”

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.

Star Trek: Discovery is part of a long-term plan for CBS All Access

 

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66 Comments on "Moonves: ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ A “Game-Changer” For CBS, ‘Twilight Zone’ Reboot Coming To All Access"

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“Get Out” was a Twilight Zone-like story, so this new version by Jordan Peele could be good.

Okay, CBS, as much as I dislike All Access…this is a smart move. Hope it turns out great.

Seems like they keep trying to revise Twilight Zone and it never quite takes or has near the impact of the original. Good luck.

Cool news but the factor in every reboot they’ve tried to do is no Rod Serling.

It would help if this new version got sci-fi/fantasy writers the way Serling did with Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Ray Bradbury, etc. Of course, there’s no replacing any of them, but they should think of people beyond the usual screenwriter circles.

The 1985 version DID boast some very good writers, at least at first, but the production values were just godawful, which is the main reason I don’t own that set on DVD. I’ve seen a number of the best of the ’85 eps multiple times (there is a semi-nearby landmark video store that carries damn near everything, so if I’m willing & desperate to drive for an hour to get something unique, I can), but every time rewatching, I get mad all over again about how CBS scuttled Harlan Ellison’s directorial ambitions by killing his adaptation of Westlake’s NACKLES, then forced the production company to eat the development costs too.

For those who don’t know, KNACKLES is the story of a horrible racist who works in the projects and goes around telling minority kids that Santa doesn’t come for them, that they’ll only get a visit from Nackles … well, I don’t want to give the whole thing away, but Ellison had Ed Asner lined up to play the bigot for scale, I think it would have been an awesome part of the Xmas hour that was already slated to include the Fritz Weaver-starring adaptation of AC Clarke’s THE STAR.

If this new version turned out even as good as the early 1985 eps, I’d be interested, though I wonder if Peele is stretching himself too thin, as he is also supposed to do the LOVECRAFT COUNTRY anthology for HBO.

As a long time Arthur C. Clarke fan, I remember watching The Star and ending up ultimately disappointed. The original story had a cruel but brilliant twist at the end that just gutted the protagonist (and by extension the reader). The Twilight Zone adaptation turned it into a sentimental ending that was pretty much opposite of the author’s original intent. It was those kinds of creative decisions that compromised even the best episodes from the first season.

Hopefully, the producers will be a little more daring and also get some good writers this time around though I remain somewhat pessimistic. I remember watching an episode of that new show based on Philip K. Dick’s stories and, wouldn’t you know it, the first one I watch took the irony of the original story it was based on (about some con artists who take a rich old woman to a planet that is supposed to be what’s left of Earth) and ended it with, yup, another sappy happy ending that made absolutely no sense within the context of the story.

My favorite episode of the 80’s version was called “Wordplay” with Robert Klein who played a man who had to relearn language because everyone around him was starting to speak something he didn’t recognize. I take it as a good allegory on what is becoming of language today. I tell my son I refuse to use text language with him. I text in complete sentences just for spite.

Sometimes a alternate creative ending can be great. Look at the original Planet of the Apes. It was Rod Serling who came up with the ending where Taylor and crew were on Earth the whole time. The original book took place on a different planet all together. So Serling’s idea was genius.

I am very skeptical of new attempts to reboot Twilight Zone because of this.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Will this be a re-re-re-boot of Star Trek? By my count the series has three previous iterations on television (original, 1980s, and 1990s version hosted by Forrest Whittaker).

No, it’ll be a re-re-re-boot of ‘Twilight Zone’.

Just Another Salt Vampire

Doh! Thanks for the fix.

love TZ awesome news

What is going to eventually happen is CBS ALL ACCESS is going to increase their subscription fees/rates come end of 1st quarter of 2018. People are not going to want to pay more for a couple of shows as is. So this is going to hurt the potential ongoing of watchers for these newer streaming shows.
It is already bad enough with the limited commercial subscription, because the ads were just as many as a regular tv programming.
Still not going to pay to watch Discovery…just going to DL free elsewhere.

Yu think CBS’ plan is to raise prices and lower subs? They might raise the price (they might introduce tiered service at some point too like WWE is going to do with their OTT) but I can guarantee that they have looked at all angles far closer than us on this forum have.

I don’t like where this is trending…will ALL the channels go the All Access route? I’m just a tech burnout, having given up my 12″ vinyls, my cassettes, my videos (NO NOT my CDs and DVDs too!?), having acquired cable, then giving it up, then got satellite early (and expensive) then giving it up, then getting cable again and giving it up again…then getting satellite again (much cheaper this time around), along with a DVR and a ROKU box (and 3 remotes because I’m scared to death of trying to combine into 1 remote and losing it all). I’m going to get a Mohu Leaf fifty omnidirectional antenna (looks like a sheet of plastic that you thumbtack to the wall), maybe get back into 12″ vinyl too, looks like its making a comeback (regret having given away my 300 albums decades ago, with all those years-acquired scratchy character and all that beautiful cover art). I STILL use a flip-phone, NOT going the iphone route. I would appreciate stability at several Tech levels. If the Amish can do it, then bygod so can I.

For years people begged for ‘ala carte’ programming when what they really wanted was ‘cheaper’ programming. Now ‘ala carte’ is here, you just end up paying more on a per channel basis.

Your programming costs are NOT 300 channels/$100 per month = $3 per channel. No, your Hallmark channel is $.01 and ESPN is $8.

Separate streaming services is the future. There may be a gatekeeper like Amazon where you can subscribe to many different channels but this is it. Unintended consequences.

The difference is should something come on a channel you normally don’t watch, it’s there. No need to add it for another $10. You have it already. For example I find USA to be a waste. But I do watch Mr Robot. Would I pay an extra $10 for it? Nope. But it’s there already.

I still say the future of streaming will be all the content providers selling to a cable like service to allow access to all for a single fee. Essentially cable for the internet. Everything old is new again.

Its already there because you’re already paying for it.

No love for All Access, but huge love for Disco and TwiZo. I also feel good about Jordan Peele helming it; I wonder whether he’ll ‘host.’ I think it needs a host. The 80’s version had Charles Aidman narrating, but no on-screen host. Shocked and amazed that there was a 2002 version; first I’ve heard of it. (Sorry, ISB, he of the purple facial foliage!)

Great news.

Now, if you want to talk about a TV show todays studio’s don’t get, Twilight Zone would be near the top of the list. Basically, it’s a collection of short stories, no more, no less. ‘New versions’ (whatever that may mean) always seem to figure that what the show needed was more FX, or gore, or colorful language….and always get it wrong. You’re never going to recreate Rod Sterling, but if you think there is an audience for what he did, then let some creative types do what he did, and tell stories. It might just work….

Yes & no. Outer Limits was really good. Black Mirror has some really good episodes. I agree that they take some of the easy, suspense and add too much modern flash bang nonsense. Lets hope they stay focused on the story

‘Frequently get it wrong’ might have been a better turn of the phrase, you are correct in noting that Outer Limits (have not seen Black Mirror) did frequently get it right. A ‘new version’ of FX driven Twilight Zone would likely be a disappointment…

Get Out was my favorite movie of the year so far, so I think Peele can do good things with it. I just hope that the extra revenue they’re bringing in from Disco will allow them to invest in a better streaming service…CBSAA in its current form is by far the most technically incompetent app on my TV!

Wish they had sold Star Trek to Netflix, CBSAA is a creative failure & they will make as big a mess out of TWIZo as they did STD.
CBSAA is not gunna work Long Run- people aren’t gunna buy 10 different streaming services, people will pic their favorite & stick with them, the smaller services will never get the full market & that’s the only reason Netflix was so successful.
If everyone pulls their content for their own streaming services everyone loses.

CBSAA is yet another lame-arse attempt to make money off the starving, gullible lemmings.

“If everyone pulls their own content for their own streaming services everyone loses.”

No, the one with the best “content” wins. It’s despicable, but it’s the way of the future. All content will be pay on demand. I begrudgingly admire the one network who sees that.

*Aggregate* content yes, not some channel that has 1 or 2 shows you like and all the rest you dont care about. The Netflix model is the way it should stay.

I agree it won’t work with just one or two shows. I don’t think that’s the long term goal here. If that’s the limit of CBS’s plans, it will fail. But the plan seems to be using established cult shows with built in audiences, which are the most valuable commodities in the modern age of narrowcasting, and then build a range of content from there. I appreciate that they see the canary in the coal mine and are trying to plant their flag in the next platform. Netflix is dominant now because they don’t have much competition (though Disney is already the first of many who will start pulling out). But as more people continue to cut the cord, that will continue to change and the old networks will have to adapt quick.

CBS will keep creating new content. They have some time because they arent JUST All Access. They are CBS, Showtime etc.

Netflix was a disc rental company. Now look at it. Hardly anyone rents discs anymore.

People dont get this. Its a direct relationship between the provider and the consumer. No middle man. No forced content. They produce what you like, you consume it.

Yes, there will likely be some tough time where you want your cable AND OTT to get all the shows. But it will all work out in the end. Providers arent going to create content if no one watches so this idea that “people wont pay for it” is silly.

If there are “too many” OTT’s and its too expensive, they will fail leaving the best. It will come down to better content.

Its an attempt to get in on the OTT game.

Did you sell you CBS stock, Trekboi? Hahah a failure. Yup, thats what I got out of this story too!

You could be right that people wont buy 10 OTT’s. Just like no one will watch 500 channels. Oh wait.

You mention Netflix and it reminded me of something in he article. The press release said Trek has been a “huge hit in key territories “. That could mean a number of different things. Is Netflix sharing their numbers with CBS? What do they mean by “key territories”? Does that mean it mostly doing poorly everywhere else? It just reeks of foggy language to hide the actual numbers to me. Due to the secretive nature of the streaming industry I don’t think we will ever know the facts.

Probably territories CBS considers key to their business growth. its not unusual for businesses to not do deep dives on the details.

Independent stories speculated that Discovery was partially to credit for Netflix’ above average sub count over last year.

The first two episodes set records for most watched show on a specialty channel in Canada. We know how well the premiere did on CBS in the US. And we’ve seen how CBS has touted the success of All Access on the back of the series. Netflix joined in on a season 2. So we can assume they are happy as well.

Sounds like Star Trek numbers are good. With OTT, you have to piece it together a bit. neilson’s does have a way of tracking (see Stranger Things 2 numbers) which Netflix disputes.

This might be a brilliant move. CAA needs to doubledown on its commitment to cult shows in order to hold the audience that will support its transition from a broadcast network to streaming service. This will only work if they go “all in.”

Peele’s a great talent to get the ball rolling. But what other writers will step up to sustain the episodic nature of the original?

“CEO Les Moonves indicated that Discovery, which has already been renewed for a second season, was a key driver to All Access’ success” Hold your horses, it’s only been 7 episodes and can all come crashing down very quickly.

I actually prefer that new shows are on All-Access, because I subscribe to the ad-free version and I can watch it ad-free without waiting till the day after; like with Hulu ad-free. And no FFWD thru commercials if DVR’d.
Keep this up and I’ll subscribe all year ;)

There’s a ton of crossover between trek and twizo audiences. Currently there’s not much on the service I care about other than disco. Looks like they’re positioning themselves smartly longer term. I would not be surprised if they announce a second trek show next year sometime. If they start ramping up the new premium programming it will make the service more sticky.

Defi8nitely its a slow process. People who looked at AA and said, they have two shows, what a waste, as if thats all they’d ever have are just looking for things to whine about. Even Netflix started fairly slow…HBO etc.

CBS is ramping up investment in original programming. But because OTT is not their only thing (like Netflix where their disc rental is extremely small), they can do it slower rather then taking out significant debt to finance original content.

Great to hear. Its nice knowing the naysayers have been wrong (as most of us predicted) and of course, hearing how Star Trek is a long term investment makes sense. I know there are people that dont understand OTT that still wont get it. But it makes so much sense and is the best bet for long term Trek on TV.

Really smart about Twilight Zone too. You can see their strategy with some of these properties they own that might be a gamble on network TV but have a niche audience that can be leveraged to buy into All Access.

Star Trek’s always been a good long-term investment! ;)

That said, I don’t know about Twilight Zone (and I say that as someone who is a huge fan of the original. I might even prefer it to TOS).

There are two interrelated problems, though: whose going to write it, and related to that, how are they going to hook an audience from week to week?

I can imagine someone coming up with a brilliant idea for an episode, but what’s to keep them coming back?

And if it becomes a serial, is it still Twilight Zone? Is the strategy to just tell a new story, American Horror Story-style, and call it “Twilight Zone”?

No offense to AHS, but I’d just love to see a Twilight Zone that gives a range of young writers a chance to experiment.

Following the “Black Mirror” model might work. But only if there’s buzz that eluded the original.

“I can imagine someone coming up with a brilliant idea for an episode, but what’s to keep them coming back?”

You answered your own question. One or more brilliant episodes should create enough curiosity for return viewing, no?

Funny…the exact opposite of Discovery’s serialized story telling.

I think serialized storytelling is key for now with any streaming show trying to sustain interest. But, as I said, I’d love to be wrong, as there is no shortage of great Twilight Zone stories still to be told.

Maybe. I think the weekly hook is important. If there’s no clear narrative for week to week, I don’t think casual viewers will stay engaged. But I’d love to be wrong on this.

I’ve never bought into this modern belief that a TV show MUST have serialized hooks and other gimmicks each week in order to keep people coming back, which sounds more like a drug dealer than a storyteller, haha. Quality is the best hook of all.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of gimmicks, for sure. That’s more on the audience’s attention span than anyone else.

I’ll put it this way: ‘Black Mirror’ had brilliant episodes. Seriously brilliant episodes. It’s a show that, without qualification, is the only true successor to ‘Twilight Zone’ we’ve seen in 50 years.

But has a single person signed up for Netflix just to catch the next ‘Black Mirror’ episode?

Interested to see if this new TZ will be any good. The original is simply irreplaceable, and later incarnations have failed both production and writing-wise. And they’ll need one hell of a great host too, that’s a must.

Well, good luck CBSAA. Impress me, maybe you’ll get more of my cash. A buddy-style cop comedy sitcom certainly isn’t going to do it. $10 a month (I don’t do commercials anymore) is a heck of a lot to ask for what they’re offering right now.

Well this would make a 2nd show on their service I’d be interested in. Although it’s not enough to get me to keep he subscription going. Why keep it going when I could just watch it when I turn it on for Trek? The ‘80’s version really did have more hits than misses. George RR Martin wrote a bunch of them as well. I thought overall it was quite good. Better in fact that its more slickly produced NBC counterpart Amazing Stories. Too bad we couldn’t merge nbc’s production values with cbs’s writing. Would have been awesome. But given a voice I’d take the lower production with better stories any day. That said, each revival of TZ got steadily worse. The syndicated version was bad. The UPN version was worse still. So to be honest I have little expectation this show will be any good whatsoever. I’ll be paying for Trek for two months out of the year so it would be nice to have something else worth looking at during that time. We shall see.

What about a reboot of ‘The Outer Limits’?

Never watched any of it… Twilight Zone.. any good?

The 1960s original is one of the best anthology shows ever made.

One of the best shows ever made, period. Anthology or not.

Find the original on streaming. Look for classic episodes including:

TO SERVE MAN
EYE OF THE BEHOLDER
TIME ENOUGH AT LAST
NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET
THE INVADERS
IT’S A GOOD LIFE
THE MONSTERS ARE DUE ON MAPLE STREET

Hasn’t twilight zone already been “rebooted” and “redone” in the form of Black Mirror.

How do you top Black Mirror?

Seriously

Good point. Black Mirror is pretty awesome.

By not having an episode where a politician has to screw a cow on live TV? That would suffice.

I can’t help but feel like a lot of the memberships beyond the initial “free trial” period are a result of the desperate “PLEASE DON’T CANCEL HERE’S MORE FREE TIME” offers a lot of people received after trying to end their membership. I’d guess there will be a moderate drop in subscribers once those people get hit with a bill after forgetting that they never actually cancelled and get their bill for a service they forgot they had.

The fact that this garbage series is so pleasing to so corrupt a man as Les Moonves should cause concern about its lack of challenging political commentary that would threaten him and his ilk.

Too $cared to try $omething completely original?
Go with the $afe and tried.
Unmoving, never waivering from what$ known.

Maybe they $hould try another reboot of Lost in $pace.
How about Bonanza? No one’$ done that yet.

“Long Term Investment”

That is exciting. It also may suggest spin offs, something we have read about before. A few months a go there were rumors about a Khan spin off. When WOK was re-released, I thought that it might be followed with some announcement about it.

The longer it goes and the more popular it becomes, the more expensive the actors become, so spin offs with a new cast also makes sense that way. If they wanted to take a risk, they could do a more family oriented version, perhaps set on a space station like a DS9 type show, with the the major focus being on a family. The Sisko family dynamic was really well done on DS9. It could attract more families as DIS is not necessarily family friendly. Having said that FOX tried it with Terra Nova and it didn’t make it. It probably would on a streaming service like this.

There may also be a little “poking the bear” at Paramount and the movie franchise going on.

@James — DS9 is a problematic show, which ultimately required them to get their own ship and warp off to away missions to fulfil the need for adventure, the foundation of Trek. What I’d like to see instead is the adventures of those Federation colonists Trek is always rescuing. What if Trek does for Space 1999 what voyager tried to do for Lost in Space? How about the adventures of The Federation colonization and relocation division? A Starfleet crew whose job is to seek out new planets for colonization in the remote reaches of the Galaxy? They ferry colonists to their new homes, help them get settled and deal with their problems, so there could be seasonal story arcs, making it a family friendly show with a bit of adventure.

“Twilight Zone is being developed by Jordan Peele”

WOW!!! His film, ‘Get Out’, was a Twilight Zone riff all the way! As a giant fan of Twilight Zone (and note that many of the Twilight Zone writers contributed to Star Trek) I am super excited this guy is on board! He made an incredible film, and fooled allll the people no matter their colour, with a classic twist. I’m saying, this guy gets it. As in, he gets how these stories work.

And Marco Ramirez did a great first season of Daredevil (I didn’t watch further though).

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