Reports regarding the re-merger of CBS and Viacom (parent company of Paramount Pictures) are buzzing again with expectations that an announcement could be made in August. Today it is being reported that bringing Star Trek back under one roof as it was before the CBS/Viacom split of 2005 is one of the considerations for the re-merger.
CBS and Viacom talking merger
As we reported in April, CBS and Viacom were again discussing a merger after talks broke down in 2018. Former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves was the main opponent for the deal, with Moonves gone controlling shareholder Shari Redstone appears to be getting her wish of merging. Earlier this week CNBC was first to report that both companies have picked August 8th to come to a deal. This report was later confirmed by industry trades. The date was chosen because it is the day both companies are set to announce their latest quarterly earnings. Variety is reporting today that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has a lock for the CEO job for the merged entity, and both company’s boards are already discussing the post-merger management structure.
Industry analysts have been bullish on a re-merger. In addition to cost-savings and economies of scale resulting from a merger, it is expected to give the combined entity a boost in advertising revenue. The merger is also expected to position the merged entity better in the “streaming wars,” which may also lead to additional CBS acquisitions such as Starz, Lionsgate, and Univision.
Star Trek is a factor
And according to today’s The Hollywood Reporter, Star Trek is also a motivating factor. From today’s article:
Some insiders — only on deep background, but with a straight face — say that putting Star Trek back under one roof is, indeed, one important reason to reunite Viacom with CBS, much like Disney has worked hard to keep as many Marvel characters as possible in its singular House of Mouse. For that matter, Mission: Impossible also could use some continuity, as Viacom has the films while CBS ran the original series from 1966 to 1973.
CBS – who would be the purchasing entity for the merger – is clearly taking Star Trek seriously with their continued expansion of the television franchise. The company has announced a number of additional Star Trek series for CBS All Access, and an animated series for kids on Nickelodeon — which happens to be part of Viacom. All of this activity has been put under one roof already with the recent CBS announcement of the Star Trek Global Franchise Group, headed up by Alex Kurtzman. A re-merger would likely involve this group taking over the development of Star Trek feature films.
This is a developing story and TrekMovie will provide any updates when there is more re-merger news.