Reports: CBS/Viacom Merger Talks Progress After Management Concession, But Hurdles Remain

Since Viacom rejected the buyout offer from CBS a month ago, merger talks between the two media companies appeared to have stalled, putting hopes of a reunified Star Trek franchise on hold. Besides stark differences on a valuation for Viacom, which recently posted positive results, the main sticking point has been regarding the management structure of what would be the newly merged corporation. However, a number of new industry reports indicate that there has been some movement on that front.

First reported Friday afternoon by Reuters, Shari Redstone, who has been the driving force behind the re-merger and controls the majority of voting shares of both companies, is now willing to give in on her demand that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish be made the second in command of the new corporation. This is a win for current CBS CEO Les Moonves, who has reportedly been insisting that current CBS Chief Operating Officer Joseph Ianniello be made president and COO of the new corporation.

News of this concession by Redstone has led to a surge in stock prices of both corporations on Friday, as investors now see a merger as more likely. However, there are still issues to resolve, notably a succession plan for the 68 year-old Moonves who wants Ianniello to be the next in line. According to Variety, CBS “remains wary” of Redstone’s proposal for Bakish to have a seat on the board and to be be set to eventually succeed Moonves. Although the Wall Street Journal reports that Redstone is also willing to concede this point, leaving Moones’ succession up to the board. In addition, the parties still have to agree on a price, although the Reuters report says the two sides have made progress on that front.

Merger probably wont impact current Star Trek projects

In the short-run, any possible deal means little with regards to Star Trek. CBS continues to work on the second season of Star Trek: Discovery while Viacom’s Paramount Pictures continues to make progress on two Star Trek feature films. If a merger happened, it is unlikely those projects would be impacted significantly although it is possible there could be some opportunities for synergies. However, if a merger deal is struck, and once it goes through the approval process, there could be important changes to the franchise in the medium to long term for Star Trek, once it is back under one roof.

TrekMovie will continue to monitor all the business news for Star Trek, so check back for any important updates.

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Beyond the rim of starlight, Moonves is wand’ring star flight. I know he’ll find in star-clustered reaches, love, strange love a star-woman teaches. I know his journey ends never; his star trek will go on forever. But tell him while he wanders his starry sea- remember, remember me.

Seasons come
burn and go.
The star bleeds.

CBS was really looking forward to reshaping the Star Trek movie franchise and Viacom couldn’t wait to fix Discovery’s issues. Both were disappointed to learn….

It would be a good thing for All Access though. They could add a lot more content and become much more appealing couldn’t they?

I disagree a merger would have little impact in the short term if the merger happens. CBS likely would kill any movies which didn’t mesh with its vision for Trek and re-building the franchise for maximum effect. I seriously doubt Moonves would be willing to keep sinking huge sums into Bad Robot ventures which don’t offer much ROI, and little to no merchandising opportunities, Tarantino likewise seems to skew off a sustainable path, especially if one assumes CBS is eyeing Trek like their Marvel or Lucas franchise.

And that all sounds like great news.

No, it would be very bad news if the Tarantino project didn’t happen — especially if a bloody corporate merger were the determining factor. It would be like Nick Meyer perhaps not being allowed to make his stylistic directing choices with The Undiscovered Country because the studio decided his vision wasn’t “Berman Trek” enough for a movie that happened to be coming out during TNG’s fifth season (and it would make as little sense).

It would also be unfortunate news if Bad Robot didn’t get a chance to wrap up their version of Star Trek, let alone finish it as strongly as they started. They deserve that chance. As it stands, their “trilogy” features two first acts and one middle one. (Though if it came down to a choice between them and Tarantino, then Tarantino should get it. On the grounds that the Bad Robot people did get their three movies, which as much as they were ever promised.)

CBS is still having growing pains with their STD. They’ve had strong writing and direction throughout most of their first season, but the lack of foundation for their story revealed itself in the final act of the last episode. They should focus on improving the direction of their own series, and stay the **** out of projects Paramount already was considering, regardless of this possible merger’s outcome (save for allowing those projects the said merchandising opportunities they’ve previously not been afforded; they could surely do THAT much in the event of a merger, making the above argument moot).

The Motion Picture. The Wrath of Khan. The Voyage Home. The Next Generation. The Undiscovered Country. Deep Space Nine. And (yes, I WILL say it) the 2009 movie. These are the ST projects that stand out, the ones that are best remembered, the ones (arguably) most often cited as worthy follow-ups to the original series. And they didn’t get there by choosing to conform to a single interpretation of said series, or even to each other’s interpretation of it.

Any new ST should try to be one of these inspired productions — and to be one of them is — by definition — to NOT copy one of them.

The ST projects that instead conformed to a single vision of what ST is, deserve to remain (un)conspicuously absent from the above list.

Nothing to worry about. Moonvies would be 200% behind a Tarantino Trek movie.

Like Moonvies is going to torpedo Tarantino doing a Trek movie? Get real! If you have been following Moonvies career and moves, he quickly sends disorganized, overated talents like Fuller packing, and gives proven talents like Tarrantino all the support they need. That’s why he’s the best studio exec on the planet.

Also, 2 out of 3 BR movies made decent money if you consider all of the funding streams, so BR would have to have another dud like Beyond before Moonvies would kick them off Trek. And Moonvies is smart enough to see the horrid marketing and release date change for Beyond doomed the box office.