CBS/Viacom Merger Update: Parties Agree On Leadership Team

As we reported two weeks ago, CBS and Viacom (parent company to Paramount Pictures) are once again closing in on a deal to re-merge, with the Star Trek TV and film franchise coming under roof cited as one of the benefits. Now it appears the parties have passed another key hurdle towards recombining.

Deal gets closer than ever

The last time Viacom and CBS were in talks to merge – in 2018 – the deal fell apart primarily due to an inability to agree to a new management team. The main issue at the time was the positions of Viacom CEO Bob Bakish and CBS COO Joe Ianniello. Now with former CBS CEO Les Moonves out of the picture, things appear to be easier.

Multiple sources including Reuters, Deadline and the Wall Street Journal are reporting that a tentative agreement has been made which puts Bakish at the top, as the CEO of the newly combined entity, with (now acting CBS CEO) Ianniello set to “to run the CBS assets in a senior role.” Reuters reports Ianniello will “oversee all CBS-branded assets, which will not include the Showtime cable network or book publisher Simon & Schuster.”

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish (left) and acting CBS CEO Joe Ianniello (right)

Next week, Thursday, August 8th, still remains a target date to finalize and announce a deal, but there are still some issues being worked out, notably the exact price at which CBS will acquire Viacom.

Recombining CBS and Viacom, which split back in late 2005, is seen as a potential first step for controlling shareholder Shari Redstone. According to CNBC, she is also eyeing other media companies to be brought into the fold including Sony Pictures and Discovery Communications.

This is a developing story and TrekMovie will provide any updates when there is more re-merger news.

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Would this affect Discovery/Picard or any of the new shows?

Probably not, at least when it comes to the current season(s). In the long term it will undoubtedly be beneficial.

This is a longer term thing, also CBS would be buying Viacom. So CBS’ plans are likely what would be given priority.

If CBS’ plans and branding for the Trek franchise take priority, would this mean that plans for future cinematic productions would need to engage Kurtzman as the lead for the development of the franchise?


It makes me wonder if a lot of Tarantino’s recent talking up of his idea for a Trek project was motivated by a concern that he would have to sell the concept to CBS executives and Kurtzman.

Perhaps he felt that making it a more public and closer to greenlit project, he would make it difficult to reject as not aligning with the brand.

And, it could be that Tarantino felt it was close, but that decisions were being held off given that the reintegration of Star Trek was being pitched to shareholders as one of the rationales for the merger.

Possible, but by no means certain. It’s also entirely possible that Tarantino is simply considering this Star Trek project for his next film, and is answering questions about it because he’s being asked them on the promotional circuit for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

For what it’s worth, I’d imagine that Tarantino has more Hollywood influence than Kurtzman. If he decides he wants to direct a Star Trek movie, I expect he will.

Kurtzman and JJ have worked together before, and the newer Treks (Disco and Picard) are visually similar to the Kelvin universe. Slap the Pike uniforms on Pine and company and it’ll all work out.

In a way, this looks like with Tarantino has said, that he wants to tell a prime universe story with the Kelvin cast…

Well good for it then. Simply recasting or rebooting the ST film franchise, when it’s already not in the best of health, is not as easy as some fans seem to think. “Captain Kirk” and “Doctor” Spock are what audiences know. And they’ve already accepted Pine and Quinto in those roles for this generation. If we’re pretty sure the Kelvin movies are done, yet the cast still has some mileage in them (assuming most of them are available), then a soft reboot with them under a merged CBS/Paramount makes plenty of sense. Providing it starts with (or consists exclusively of!) Tarantino’s one-off. I don’t know that I trust any director-for-hire that Kurtzman chooses to spearhead the ST film franchise before someone with strong film creds has set the tone.

I still don’t see why folks here think the Tarantino project could be viable.

Once upon a time in Hollywood has a low 3 week revenue, and it was a relatively low budget cinematic production. It looks like it might be profitable – just – but it’s making the opening weeks of Beyond look respectable.

People get tired of Safe Trek, and want to know when Trek will have its next re-interpreter — and who that will be.

The last qualifier either got fired or left the show before a single episode was completely in the can. The results of his input mostly never got a chance to work.

Guy before that transformed ST into a sizeable summer blockbuster, but lacked either the vision or the right people to follow up on it. This was ten years ago.

Guy before THAT wrote and directed TOS’ thematic final episode, followed nine years later by its literal final episode. His more contemporary vision called for maroon jackets, fire extinguishers, leather bound books and Shakespeareian Klingons. This was three-to-four decades ago.

Long time wait with exasperated patience for ST to find the people it most needs.

No offense Sam, but this is problem with fandom today. You’re looking for a ‘savior’ for Star Trek and that’s just not going to happen. That’s exactly why so many fans were originally excited (and now disappointed) in the Disney Star Wars films. They just KNEW if you got it away from Lucas and gave it to a new set of bold, hungry, innovative and young filmmakers they can turn Star Wars into something different while keeping what people loved about it fresh. How is that working out? Lucasfilm literally fired half of them before their movie was made lol.

I don’t think Tarantino is going to ‘save’ Star Trek than any other director out there. If he made a movie chances are its not going to be anymore loved or hated than the rest of them. And I guarantee you for every person who says its great will be another person who says its absolute trash.

And thats the other problem, people are setting up huge expectations JUST like people had when Rian Johnson was named director of Episode 8 and the second he didn’t meet them (I always have to state for the record I didn’t have that big of a problem with TLJ but yes it wasn’t perfect either) and a lot of these were so-called Rian Johnson fans when they thought the guy could do no wrong. But I’m also old enough to remember when fans felt the same way of George Lucas too.

Because sadly like the country itself that created them, Star Trek and Star Wars fandom is just too divided today. Yes I do feel you can just tell a good story and most people will simply like it but I doubt its going to turn everyone into a fan of it overnight.

Discovery for example did have some great episodes in season 2 and some people even touted them as some of the best since the TNG days. Pike and Spock were both instant hits to the point people want their own show, but Discovery itself doesn’t feel any less divided today as it did in first season IMO. What’s odd is, at least this board, the show seem even less loved going into season 3.

I’m hoping the Picard show will make the fanbase more united and its getting AMAZING press right now, but that’s mostly because people are excited about seeing Data, Seven of Nine, the Borg etc. If the show itself still sucks it won’t matter and yes some people will not like it regardless.

It’s not about Tarantino “saving” Star Trek. It may be what those who are behind the project thinks, but Tarantino wants to direct the film, if he has the flexibility to direct the film. Also, the days for a united fandom is long gone. Too many years have passed since the days of TOS, not to mention people’s tastes’ have changed.

Once Upon a Time will probably make a profit once it hits overseas but its clear its not going to be a huge blockbuster either. I keep saying it but Tarantino’s movies are NOT guaranteed hits. And he’s never had a real blockbuster movie. Django Unchained is the closest. Most of them all made a profit but because most are pretty low budget or under $100 million.

I was shocked to learned Once Upon a Time cost $90 million. I thought it was half that! But I guess most of it probably went to pay DiCaprio and Pitt. I thought the movie was OK but it just felt kind of there and nothing you have to rush out to see. Its definitely something you can wait to watch on cable and my guess why its not doing better. No one is really talking about it.

Let me this clear though, I’m not downing the guy at all, he’s generally a great film maker and consistent. I’ve seen all his movies except Hateful Eight and Grindhouse and liked most. But this idea a ‘Tarantino Star Trek movie’ is going to suddenly get everyone all hot and bothered is putting the cart before the horse. I don’t think its going to be any bigger than most of the other Trek films and that if its good. But if it sucks…

And my guess is it will be a more low budget than the Kelvin movies which is probably a good thing in the long run though.

All white males.. horrible..

With Moonves previously at the top of CBS, it’s no surprise that there were not senior VPs who were women or visible minorities.

It may take time for women to advance, but it does sound as though the owner may be pushing for different styles of leadership than her father did.

Is there something wrong with white people? With men?

The company, incidentally, is *owned* by a woman, if that makes any difference to you. Jewish, too.

Just a little bland

Are you blind? How does Lannielo look white?

Well, he certainly doesn’t look African or Asian. And the name is distinctly Italian, therefore European descent, therefore white unless proven otherwise.

Contrary to popular American belief, not all white people are the same pale pink shade. For example, I’m a native European, and at this time of year I’m even darker than him. And I’m not even an Italian, I’m a Baltic Slav. ;)

at this time of year I’m even darker than him

“Dey darker than us! Whoof!”

Ah, navamske, a rare “Blazing Saddles” quote. Well played!

The owner, above those two, is Shari Redstone, a woman. Does that make you feel better?

A white woman! Horrible!

Racist and sexist. Well done, I hope you’re proud of yourself. How did this comment ever get past moderation??


Racist clown. Horrible.

And how?

Kinda like when TOS was produce, eh?

It would be interesting to see Star Trek under one roof in terms of rights management. Whatever color or gender the main team have… As long as there is someone keeping the lore in check, movies and Tv sides. Star Trek has 3 timelines now, so it shouldn’t get too out of control.

How are you counting 3? Prime, Kelvin, and… Mirror Universe?

Three timelines? Which? Please explain….I know only two, Prime and Kelvin.

The original one, of course. That’s classic Star Trek, first seven movies, TNG, DS9 and Voyager.

What they call “Prime” was directly caused by Borg involvement during the First Contact. That timeline consists of Enterprise, Insurrection, Nemesis, Discovery, Picard and who knows what else might sprout out of Kurtzman’s orifices in the future. ;)

And I’m pretty sure we could make it FOUR timelines if we really tried: Voyager gets a separate one, with divergence point at the events of Future’s End. :P

That’s an interesting fan theory, but it’s not really supported by anything either on screen or said by a writer or producer.

Plus, if “First Contact” is the point of divergence, either DS9 takes place in a different universe than the last two TNG movies (which is odd, as the Dominion War is referenced in both), or the later seasons of DS9 take place in a different timeline than the earlier ones (which there’s no indication of either)

The official line is that all the TV shows are set in the same timeline (barring Mirror Universe stories or any other temporary timeline alterations like the “Year of Hell”). And the burden of proof lies on anyone making a claim to the contrary.

There are some hints that parts of ENT (apart from the obvious Borg episode)- maybe even the name of the ship- were influenced by First Contact. That would explain why there was no mention of it before: When the time came to pick a name, Cochrane (or, more likely, Sloane) decided to honor the ship that saved them.

That gets really really confusing lol. I just keep them all under one universe minus the Kelvin movies.

Yeah, that’s what I said, only more succinct.

Prime, Kelvin, and Discovery. At least three. Or if as postulated above, prime is the altered timeline from the Borg Incursion in First Contact, then throw in the original TOS to TNG timeline/universe as well. 3-4 timelines / universes. The laws of physics are so different in Discovery and Kelvin (ship bigger inside than outside) that I would call those different universes. As far as burden of proof, all it takes is to look at them. Visual reboot = reboot. A reboot means a different universe. Pretty simple, pretty obvious.

Also, with other franchises embracing multiverses, DC and Marvel for example, what the problem in accepting it in Star Trek? The multiverse concept has been in Star Trek since TOS. What is the big deal? Why do people have such a hard time with it? There are multiple universes in Star Trek. There is nothing wrong with it. There is no shame in it.

And, according to rumor, once Shari Redstone has Star Trek consolidated, the multiverse concept WILL be embraced and promoted.

“Reboot” does not equal “different universe.” The producers have gone far out of their way to insist that Discovery is not in a different universe than TOS/TNG. Now if Discovery tells us “Captain Kirk and the Enterprise were lost while fighting a Romulan ship in the Neutral Zone in 2366” then we can say they are in different universe. Different looks are not enough to claim a different timeline. Continuity errors are not enough to claim a different timeline (else TOS would exist in about a dozen different timelines, i.e. Spock saying in “Tholian Web” there had never been a mutiny in Starfleet two years after the Enterprise crew mutinied in “This Side of Paradise”.) If we choose to accept that Discovery is in a different timeline just because the ships look different, then we are starting down a slippery slope which will result in myriad timelines, and the whole point of calling a show “Star Trek” becomes moot, because none can have a lasting impact on any other show or episode.

Yes, I think you’ve got it!

The producers had to say that because of the split ownership situation. When Star Trek is all under one roof, they won’t have to do that anymore. But yes, it will crate a myriad of Star Treks, that will potentially water down or eliminate the impact of anything in particular. That is what is happening now with DC and Marvel.
But it will INCREASE the merchandise marketing potential. That is the important part.

Voyager was bigger on the inside than the outside, there’s no way it could fit the Delta Flyer. I guess then that Trek got rebooted in TMP with the Klingons, since never before or since have we seen them in that kind of makeup. I guess TNG got rebooted in Season 3 when they built the 4 foot model that redesigned the Ent-D. Or maybe it got rebooted in Season 2 when they introduced Ten Forward and its windows were different than the original filming model. Or maybe it got rebooted in Relics when they beamed Scotty off the Jenolan with its shields up, therefore violating the established laws of physics. I guess TOS got rebooted several times as they decided on the name of Starfleet. I guess all these examples kinda demonstrate that your mileage may vary on whether you agree with “visual reboot = reboot” depending on your ability to suspend disbelief and recognize that it’s a tv show with a production budget and artists with leeway to change things. Either you buy the changes they make or you don’t.

I got confused a little bit. Well in principle it’s two timelines. And I think three multiverse: the main one, the Terra one and the Disco (althoug the Terra one maybe two because of DS9).

But…if you adhere to the theory of time like the MCU explained it, I don’t think those numbers are correct.

Anyway my point was to keep this stuff in check under one roof. Otherwise, it gets really confusing.

The way I understand it, there’s the Original Timeline (TOS-NEM), the Kelvin Timeline and the Prime Timeline – the Prime Timeline being the Kelvin Timeline’s version of the Original Timeline…

Discovery and Picard are set in the Prime Timeline, not the Original Timeline, hence the visual variations.

Apparently, some have forgotten that one of the Lazaruses came from an alternate universe with an alternate timeline that Kirk, himself, visited. And the MU has an alternate timeline to Prime as well.

As a time travel who knows future events, the reunification happens later in the year and it helps pave the way for the second TREK golden age. You’ve seen nothing yet! 😉

How was Tartantino’s Trek movie? Or maybe I should be asking ‘did his Trek actually happen in the end?’ Also which actor did they choose to be Kelvin-Sisko in the DS9 movie? Thanks in advance! :D

I understand why these kind of things are covered here; it affects the shows and movies we like. But it is kind of funny that a part of modern fandom is closely following the careers of business majors and notes from boardroom meetings. Hey, Eaglemoss, make a scale model of the table where they sign the merger! ;-)

Given how challenging the soap opera that has been Paramount has been for the well-being of the Trek brand, it’s no surprise that fans are anxious about the outcome of this merger.

That said, the world of finance has been reported with fantastical terminology such as “white knights” and “poison pills” for as long as Trek’s existed. It lends itself to being written as drama.

It is Game of Thrones in the boardroom. We just want a better outcome.

Are the ShuttlePodcasts all down, or is it just me?

The ShuttlePod crew took a bit of a breather, but they posted this podcast after San Diego Comic-Con.

Not what I was asking.

PLAY button. Won’t. Click on. On any random podcast episode you select.

No running time displayed. No loading/buffering status bar. No response. On any episode.

Also the direct link 500s out.

That’s for pointing that out Sam. Something happened recently. We’re all at STLV right now, but I’ll try and troubleshooting more soon.

Sweet. This insomniac is properly reassured. :)

Okay. Sorry it took a few days, the podcasts are working again.

I really hate corporate consolidation, but at the same time, I’d be really happy to have all of Trek back under one roof. While I know CBS and Viacom are a far cry from the likes of Disney or Time Warner, this is still very much a double edged sword.

Does this mean Abrams Trek gets a new lease on life, or will they reboot the film series again?

It probably depends on what happens with Tarantino’s Trek.

Might sound totally ignorant and forgive me for not knowing too much about the way American business works, but I’m surprised Disney haven’t expressed some sort of interest in Star Trek.

There is no company called Star Trek. Disney would have to buy CBS/Viacom which owns the CBS broadcast network, but Disney already owns the US broadcast network ABC, and they are prevented by various antitrust laws from owning more than one major television network (to keep the purchase of 20th Century Fox studios legal, Fox TV was spun off into an independent company just before Disney bought 20th Century Fox.)

Now, there are those who think Apple is waiting in the wings to swoop in and buy up CBS/Viacom/Paramount once the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.

Surely Disney buying everything makes ZERO sense long term for the survival of a healthy film industry? But I’m not at all clued into how these things work.
Disney in 2012 bought out Lucasfilm didn’t they?
Disney was a good fit for Star Wars but I dont think it would be for Star Trek, and frankly I dont think they’d he interested in the slightest as they already have a superior money maker in Star Wars.

But Lucasfilm was a ‘small’ company compared to most big media corporations. But yes as their purchase of 20th Century Fox proved (and not the ENTIRE company mind you just the movie/TV division) yes its probably possible to buy Star Trek if they bought enough of the division but CBS has to be willing to sell it and clearly they are not.

But yes I do agree with you I don’t think Disney is interested in Star Trek because neither the movies or merchandise are big enough. Its a franchise that has made billions but not in the arena in stuff like Star Wars and even Marvel before the film division took off (and Disney didn’t even buy it for the movies, they just really wanted the toys which sold hundreds of millions every year. The movie division at the time was ironically just an after thought).

Maybe if it were the 90s when the merchandise was big and crazy that would be a different story. Today its become so small, even when the Kelvin movies were out the merchandise felt almost non-existent. Good luck getting a T shirt of Krall at Target somewhere. Discovery has been on the air for two years now, I’ve never seen so much as a Funko Pop on a shelf anywhere.

Hey, you never know. Disney isn’t the first name you think when you think ‘Alien’ and ‘Predator’ and ‘The Simpsons’ either, but they own those franchises now, too.

You’re right though, this isn’t healthy for the film industry.

i hate the idea of the redstones getting thier evil claws back on the trek franchise

i wish the fcc wulsd block this merger and any other merger for viacom as they are trying to rule with a monopoly
the fcc did this with disney after they bought 20th century fox they forbid them from getting any more as it would mean they would have a monopoly viacom already have to much under thier control they dont need cbs or sony or discovery communication