The third (and final) season of Picard is just the start of another big year for original Star Trek content on Paramount+. New seasons from all four other shows are coming in 2023. Paramount+ has yet to unveil when each show will arrive, but we are expecting an announcement soon regarding that 2023 Trek schedule. However, the future of original Star Trek television going into 2024 and beyond has yet to be confirmed. Paramount has confirmed they will be cutting back spending on content overall as the media industry moves into a new phase of the streaming era.
It was over thirteen months ago that Paramount+ made a big announcement outlining their 2022 and 2023 plans for Star Trek, which included additional seasons for all five Trek shows. The anticipated announcement for their 2023 Star Trek TV schedule should also include news on the future of the current series, along with the possibility of new Trek shows. As we await the announcement, TrekMovie is taking a look at the state of Star Trek TV and how market forces may impact the future of the franchise.
Peak Trek in 2023
2022 and 2023 are a fulfillment of a vision outlined in the early days of CBS All Access (now called Paramount+), when executives talked of year-round Star Trek on the streaming platform. In addition to the third and final season of Picard, this year will see the second season of Strange New Worlds and the fifth season of Discovery. On the animation side, Paramount+ will release the fourth season of Lower Decks and the first half (10 episodes) of Prodigy season 2.
In last January’s announcement, Alex Kurtzman (the executive producer in charge of Trek TV for Paramount) stated, “Now our current shows are set up for the future as we work to build Trek’s’ next phase of programming for years to come.” What this future looks like remains an open question. Other than the second half of Prodigy season 2, none of the other Trek shows have been officially given new seasons, meaning there is no announced production for the continuing series or any new ones.
Paramount pivoting to find profit
All four continuing Trek shows have their fans, and in the early days of the streaming wars, it would be easy to imagine new season pickups across the board. In theory, this could still happen if Paramount sees their current Star Trek offering as vital, but with Picard wrapping up, 2024 is already set to be different. More importantly, things have changed over the last year, with Wall Street now pressuring media companies to start actually making a profit from their subscription services, something that has eluded all the studio entrants to the streaming market, including Disney. This new outlook has resulted in shows being canceled and even removed from streaming services across the board, Warner Bros. Discovery lead the way with a focus on cost-cutting at HBO Max.
As one of the smaller media companies, Paramount Global is under even more pressure. Just this week CFO Naveen Chopra said they were “on a path to profitability” with plans to both raise prices and cut spending, noting that 2023 will be their “peak year” in streaming investment. In other words, the company is getting choosier when it comes to deciding how to spend money on content. A few shows have already been canceled on both Paramount+ and Showtime (which will be merged with Paramount+ later this year). Despite that, the corporate strategy remains focused on leveraging franchises. Recently the lion’s share of this investment has been steered towards the growing universe of shows from Yellowstone producer Taylor Sheridan, with more on the way.
Star Trek 2024 and beyond
While Paramount+ announces more and more Yellowstone spinoffs and seasons, the lack of any announced new seasons (or series) of Trek in over a year is noteworthy. So the big question now is how will Paramount+ handle Star Trek in this new era of belt-tightening? Presuming they want more Star Trek content on the platform in 2024, work would have to start soon, if not already. But keeping five shows running, all releasing new seasons every year, may not be sustainable in the new environment, so the streamer will have to start making some choices for their Star Trek content. Let’s take a closer look at their options with some informed speculation on where we may be headed.
Strange New Worlds season 3 is a no-brainer
After wide acclaim from fans and critics, Paramount+ has put this new series front and center, even featuring Anson Mount as Captain Pike in a Super Bowl ad. Last year, Paramount touted streaming figures for the show’s debut, and just last week Paramount Global CEO Bob Bakish named the show as one of the drivers for the streaming services growth. The second season wrapped production last June and even without an official announcement, there are indications that work has already begun developing a third season of Strange New Worlds, with production possibly kicking off later in the spring. Expect an official announcement of season 3 soon.
Lower Decks season 5 is probably in our future
Showrunner Mike McMahan and his team are up for continuing the animated comedy beyond the upcoming fourth season, and animated shows are certainly cheaper than live-action, so a fifth season seems like a good bet, after all Mariner was also in that Super Bowl spot. However, a fifth season should not be seen as a given. In the modern streaming era, not a lot of shows make it to a fifth season or beyond. One thing Lower Decks has going for it is the show has been co-financed by Amazon, although recently Paramount cut a deal making it (and Picard) no longer exclusive internationally on Prime Video. If Paramount+ wants more Lower Decks in 2024 then McMahan may already have been given the go-ahead, so any new announcement should include news on the show’s future.
Discovery season 5 could wrap up series… leading to Academy spinoff
Star Trek: Discovery was the anchor show that put CBS All Access on the map and started off the new Star Trek Universe of TV shows. The show has gone through a lot of changes over four seasons (like moving the setting forward over 900 years), plus the upcoming fifth season promises another pivot to a more action/adventure-oriented tone. As noted earlier, five seasons is a lot in the modern era, and Paramount has to start considering if a sixth season would help with customer acquisition and retention better than a new show.
3/2 UPDATE: Paramount+ has officially announced Discovery season 5 with be the final season
And speaking of new shows, Alex Kurtzman has been teasing the development of a Starfleet Academy show for years, and there have been hints that this show is set in the new Discovery era. As Discovery is aimed at attracting a younger more diverse market, wrapping the show up with the fifth (or maybe even a sixth) season of Discovery to set up a spin-off Academy series makes sense, and could possibly carry over some of the characters in regular or recurring roles. Announcing a spin-off at the same time would mitigate the sting of Discovery coming to an end, assuming Paramount+ can afford to launch another Trek series in the short run.
Section 31 lives
The project that has spent the longest time in Star Trek development hell is the “Section 31” Discovery spin-off starring Michelle Yeoh. The actress’ profile has increased significantly in the last few years, and she has a very good shot at winning an Oscar in two weeks. Even with her elevated Hollywood status, Yeoh still wants to return to Trek, as she relished her role as former Emperor Phillipa Georgiou. Kurtzman and Paramount execs continue to talk up this series, and it makes sense for Paramount to capitalize on the Yeoh buzz, especially as Paramount+ starts eying expansion into Asia. Given Yeoh’s busy schedule, this project might become a mini-series or Paramount+ original movie, which would also cut down the cost commitment for the project. If they move fast, they could get something out by 2024 as Yeoh has mainstream popularity right now, which means there’s an opportunity to bring a broader audience into Star Trek. So if there is any money left over at Paramount+ after all the Yellowstone spinoffs, don’t be surprised if this seemingly dormant project shows up in the upcoming announcement.
Waiting for Star Trek: Legacy (aka Picard spin-off)
Terry Matalas and the season 3 cast of Star Trek: Picard (including a number of TNG vets) have made no secret about their pitch for a spin-off series, likely starring Jeri Ryan as the captain of the USS Titan. Other members of the season 3 cast would carry over into the new show (like Michelle Hurd, Ed Speleers, Ashlei Sharpe Chestnut, and Mica Burton) as series regulars, with some of the TNG vets (along with new legacy actors) popping in for guest spots and recurring roles. However, beyond just the issues of cost-cutting, it is a bit early for Paramount+ to get behind this idea; with season 3 just getting started, they would want to gauge fan reaction before diving in. But if fans respond like they did after season 2 of Discovery, calling for more Pike and crew (resulting in Strange New Worlds) this spin-off could be show up on Paramount+’s 2025 slate.
Star Trek: Janeway?
Another person who has made no secret about wanting to get back into uniform is Voyager star Kate Mulgrew, who is currently offering her voice as Admiral Janeway in the upcoming second season of the animated series Star Trek: Prodigy. At New York Comic-Con, Alex Kurtzman hinted at “an idea” which would see the return of live-action Janeway. It could create a bit of brand confusion if the character appears in two different shows at the same time, but putting the live-action show into a different setting could fix that problem and possibly use the early 25th setting set up by Picard. If this project moves forward, it may be something that is announced at a later date.
Prodigy season 3 is a next year question
Speaking of Prodigy, Paramount+ has already ordered a second season, which will cover them through 2024. The showrunners have ambitious plans to continue the show, and its premise of young characters working their way through Starfleet training to become officers is already built into the show. Prodigy is expensive for an animated show, but the series is carried by Nickelodeon as well as Paramount+, which helps spread the costs around. The show has a decent chance at a third season; however, any announcement will likely wait until closer to the launch of the second half of season 2.
2022 and 2023 may have fans used to year-round Star Trek TV and with the focus on franchises at the corporate level, even as they look to cut costs, Paramount+ is certainly going to stay in the Trek business. However, fans should be prepared for change as we head into 2024 and 2025, with possibly a different mix of shows, potentially fewer shows and/or shorter seasons, and even a different frequency of releases.
For now, we wait, hence the above speculation… but expect news soon regarding Paramount+ plans for Trek’s future on TV.
Keep up with the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.
I hope Discovery goes to 7 seasons at least as it remains one of Paramount’s most watched shows on their service as is SNW.
While SNW is my least favorite of the current shows i hope it goes to at least 5-7 seasons. I can see Prodigy and Lower Decks getting shorter seasons as the animation costs quite a bit and also takes a long time to do.
I do hope we see the Section 31 show live as i really want that show to happen.
Agreed, I’m not a huge fan of SNW either, I think the episodes are really hit-or-miss, but I do hope it goes to more seasons.
Discovery, as much as some Trek fans criticize it, it is more appealing to general audiences than the animated shows — and many fans end up watching it even if they don’t like it anyway.
Honestly, I can see the same thing happening for a Section 31 show — and I REALLY hope we get the Section 31 show, I think it has a lot of potential for Star Trek to branch out through that show — I do think it would get criticism from fans, but it would be more appealing to general audiences, and most fans would end up watching it even if they’re skeptical of it.
Star Trek doesn’t appeal to general audiences and the days of fans just watching something because it has Star Trek or Star Wars in the title are long gone. They might sample it but if it doesn’t connect they just tune out after the first couple of episodes whereas in the past they might stick with it for a few years.
As for a Section 31 series, it might work better as a limited series that runs a max of two.
What’s paying off for Star Trek now is a back to the basics approach and its paying off with Picard Season 3 and SNW. Can you include darker elements? Sure, but that darkness can’t be Star Trek’s core.
The fact is even if Secret Hideout magically starts making really good Trek consistently the economics of this situation still remain. This stuff is expensive.
Discovery, as much as some Trek fans criticize it, it is more appealing to general audiences than the animated shows.
Exactly. I think it survives this cut easily. I think it’s between LDS and Prodigy as to which animated show to keep, and you’d have to think the Prodigy edge’s out LDS because of it’s broader appeal to kids — which grows the franchise with an important group for the future.
To be fair, we don’t actually know what “these cuts” are. Unless I’m mistaken, all this says is that Paramount wants to lower costs to become profitable. It doesn’t mean that a bunch of Trek shows are getting canceled necessarily (though it could).
I know it’s natural to think of Trek as the center of this because that’s where our focus is as fans, but Paramount has done dozens of original shows the last 5 years, and plenty of other places they can cut. It could mean Trek shows will require lower budgets, or less episodes total per year, etc.
It’s just as likely that they see Trek as a pillar of their profitability since its kind of their only bonafide, globally recognized franchise.
It’s just as likely that they see Trek as a pillar of their profitability since its kind of their only bonafide, globally recognized franchise.
Hmmm… Perhaps. But currently it seems Yellowstone is pulling in more views. It has for a short while at least. And traditionally Trek has not done very well in non-english speaking countries. I think Germany is the only non-english speaking country it has actually done OK in.
Taylor Sheridan shows won’t necessarily have much of a footprint overseas though either. Big stars like Ford, Mirren, Costner and Stallone should be a draw internationally to a point, but for any shows that are Westerns or soaps, there’s a lot of evidence those appeal more to Americans than anyone else too. Westerns don’t tear up the box office overseas, and I’d be shocked to learn Dallas (which is basically what the original Yellowstone is with better scenery and more swearing) was a big hit outside of the US.
I don’t think Trek shows will be cut but I am doubtful of new shows coming anytime soon. As the article mentions Yellowstone is Paramount+’s new pride and joy and despite the star factor (Harrison Ford) probably cost way less to make than a live action Trek.
1923 cost $22 million an episode for season 1. Season 2 is projected to cost $17 million per episode.
Do you have any (legit) proof that Prodigy has had a broad appeal to kids? It aspires to, of course, but I’d like to see some actual numbers from you showing that it is really happening.
It is designed for kids and airs on Nickelodeon. That’s all he means. Just take the L, my man.
I don’t think I will. What you cited doesn’t prove a thing. Other than ‘good intentions’?
LOL, it’s Nickelodeon programming. Seriously?
I remember them talking about filming Discovery seasons 4 & 5 back-to-back before the pandemic prevented it — if they want to get to seven seasons then I wouldn’t be surprised if they made seasons 6 & 7 back-to-back.
With SNW, since they’ve put “five-year mission” in the opening narration I’m hoping for five seasons.
There’s an element in Picard around Raffi’s handler (sorry for being oblique – I’m being super-conscious of not spoiling things for others) that makes me thing they could be looking at them and Raffi if they go the S31 route.
Interesting. I’d be much more likely to watch a Section 31 show centered around Raffi than Georgiou. But Michelle Yeoh is popular in Asia.
Michelle Yeoh is popular worldwide.
Not going to happen, it has been officially announced that Season 5 will be the final one. It is cancelled, done, finito. S31 has been vaporware from the start just like the supposed fourth Kelvin film. Soon, SNW will be the only live action nuTrek series and not only has nothing been greenlit to go alongside it there has been no official renewal for it either. It is entirely possible that the material currently in the pipeline (as in already filmed and in post-production) will be the last ever produced under the Secret Hideout banner.
Wow, if this happened 5 years ago, many fans would not have cared much.
Here we are in 2023, with 4 of the 5 shows being good to excellent and even Discovery showing promise…. and after all that work, it might all come to an end.
I can see the animated shows being renewed because they are relatively inexpensive. And if I can only have one live action show, I really hope to see more of SNW or the proposed Legacy series.
My gut says this will not affect Star Trek or the Taylor Sheridan shows that much, which are their two biggest draws. I think it might slow production slightly, but for example, I don’t expect them to drastically slash budgets or cancel a bunch of shows.
But the service has dumped a lot of money into several high profile disappointments, like The Stand and Halo. Who knows though, it could mean delaying future seasons… as of now we get a new Trek show every week all year, essentially, so I could see them slowing that somewhat. But that might be smart anyway, as it sometimes feels like overkill from a marketing perspective.
I would be okay if the shows came out less regularly. We just survived about seven weeks between Prodigy and Picard.
Can’t miss you if you don’t go away.
Totally agree. I would be fine with three shows per year, and cycle between 4-5 shows. They can also lower season episode counts to 10 across the board (Discovery currently does 13 per), rearrange shooting schedules to maximize spending, be more budget conscious when developing scripts, etc etc.
“Discovery currently does 13 per” No, it doesn’t. Season 5 of Discovery will be 10 episodes.
Seasons 1-4 all had 13+. Relax your sphincter, Mr. Argument.
The first season had 15. The second had 14.
But…Discovery doesn’t “currently” do 13. Take the L, AlphaPredator. : D
Halo was the most watched original on Paramount+ in 2022 despite less than stellar reviews, Paramount is not disappointed by Halo and it likely exceeded their expectations.
The Stand debuted three years ago and was produced when they were in need of original content and needed to promote the service so it did what it needed to.
Taylor Sheridan’s shows are fine but everything else is likely on the table. Cancelling shows that seemed like a sure thing is pretty much the norm, and typically because of the expense involved if it isn’t a strong performer, just like in the old days.
Thanks for picking apart the specific points, but the general statement I was clearly trying to make was that there are plenty of places to cut that don’t require outright canceling 3 of the 5 active Trek shows.
Halo, despite its viewership figures, still cost around $100m and was widely panned by both fans and critics, so there has to be concern about the second season.
Yellowstone spin-offs are a huge draw, but with at least three on the drawing board, it’s as likely they cut back one of those as they do a Trek series.
The fact is that Star Trek is a massive franchise with global brand recognition. They will certainly be scrutinizing it more carefully, and that could lead to a cancelation or changes in plans, but I think it’s a little premature to be assuming that half the slate is going to get the axe based on some nebulous report about wanting to cut costs.
Halo was the most watched original on Paramount+ in 2022 despite less than stellar reviews, Paramount is not disappointed by Halo and it likely exceeded their expectations.
Halo was a big success for P+. Yea, many of the hardcore gamers didn’t like it, but the masses overwhelming liked it. I’m not a gamer — it was a good, if not great, sf action adventure series that I definitely want to see more seasons of.
BTW, Halo S2 is currently filming.
For all your nitpickery, the point I’m trying to make is that “cost cutting” can involve changes to a LOT of expensive shows, not just Star Trek.
LOL, well, yeah, you make a good point there.
Here’s a better one:
In 2020, Discovery was ranked the most-watched original on Paramount+ (or CBSAA).
In 2022, despite awful reviews, Picard Season 2 beat Discovery’s record for the year (before SNW beat PIC a few months later).
By your argument, Season 2 of Picard was an overwhelming success. I’m not trying to be a jerk with that point, because I do actually believe it was a success, even if it wasn’t the best show.
But just like Halo (which i’ll admit that I didn’t realize had been the most-watched series, topping SNW), negative reviews are concerning for a streamer, and can be cause for a reassessment, and frankly, they’re smart to re-evaluate.
I have no idea what wider consensus is on Halo, but if the core audience isn’t satisfied, it can be an indicator of problems that might cause the viewership to decline the next seasons.
For example in the SW universe we saw how TLJ’s backlash led to a disappointing reception for ROS. And even within Trek, STID made a ton of money, but a lackluster reception probably played a part in audience’s not turning up as strongly for Beyond, even though it was a better film.
No one should be surprised Picard season 2 did well because it still brought back Q, the Borg Queen and at least looked fun so of course tons of people watched it. Transformers are some of the worst films ever made and they still make billions of dollars.
Picard and Discovery being big hits (for Paramount+ anyway) is because they have Star Trek in the title. That’s why they exist, they know a certain amount of people will watch them no matter what. People have been complaining about DIS and PIC everywhere and even people who don’t love them like me still watch them.
But the problem is now they have found bigger (and probably cheaper) shows to run that can match that success or more. So that could be a problem with all these Trek shows going forward, they don’t have to rely on them as much anymore and shows like Discovery or even SNW can get cut.
Is there an argument echo in here? Everyone just wants to say something I guess.
I didn’t say you were wrong lol. I’m agreeing with you and stating why. You seem to come off testy for some reason.
And Discovery got cut which was my other point. They don’t need all these shows anymore.
I’m not so sure. The current Trek audience seems more fractured. It seems that most have a show they prefer and could care less if the others vanish. And there is the element of fans who wouldn’t mind seeing this end and picked up later with more capable people at the helm. Even if the budgets are cut.
I would assume the most likely show to get axed and be replaced by a spinoff is Discovery at this point, with S31 and Academy filling the vacant spot. Legacy and Janeway could be the same project.
I think the big issue with Janeway is they already had some ideas for 24th century live action before Mulgrew started pushing for it and there might not be room for both.
I wouldn’t lose a lick of sleep if Discovery was cancelled but I don’t know if the Academy show or Section 31 will be better… especially with Adolf heading the S31 show. That could be even worse
I still say S31 is never going to happen. S31 is the “Star Trek 4” of the TV world. And Michelle Yeoh is going to be way too busy and cost a whole lot more now.
My possible candidates for putting on the back burner are 4:
1) Section 31. It is still in the Preproduction Writer Room birth
2) Discovery. It depends how the Writer Room come out with Good Stories into the Future, no foundation where thy could build of. the Opportunity has been lost in their last Season
3) Admiral Janeway (Slice of Life?). It is like Section 31 or not even entered the Writer Room. So this could also be an back burner for now. It will surly need more time
4) Star Trek: Legacy. Same as Janeway. This idea is still to fresh, the Writer Room needs time to fill it with Life. But “One should strike the iron while it is hot”
All good things…
If this is it, Trek had a good run….
If Discovery is concluding, that may complicate their announcements since they likely want to frame the next season as the final season, which coincides with the end of Picard. They might want to announce a new show to balance things out and keep fans onboard. I could see the animate shows and SNW staying, but I would be surprised if they add more than 1 new live action series.
That sounds about right. Star Trek will always have a presence on Paramount+, there just won’t be quite as much of it.
Just my own view if money is tight
SNW to keep making
Allow Terry to develop the Titan series.
No Section 31 or Academy for me.
Can’t judge Lower Decks & Prodigy as I don’t watch.
Still would like a new Movie
Agreed with your frugal assessment, and we should be ready for major budget trims to Trek on Paramount+, thus affecting total number of series.
They will likely take Disco to S7, SNW S3, and scale down if not eliminate both LD and Prodigy. The announcement of ‘Picard: The Final Season’ with no plans to bring back Terry Matalas (he is already at Disney working on Witch Mountain) is evidence that they are simmering down from the peak of this past year. All other speculative Trek projects (S31 included) will be shelved, tabled, put in development slow-cook cycle, uncertain if it will ever be greenlit.
I honestly find predicting what will happen here to be difficult without more information. All we have is what we perceive from outside the boardroom. And while we have reports like Yellowstone is their current most watched show we really don’t have a true handle on what those true numbers are. I think it fair to assume that the non-animated Trek shows are pretty costly too. Based on this info we can made guesses. Again, my personal hope is that the deal with Secret Hideout is heavily scrutinized. This is of course driven by my personal opinions of the quality of product they churn out and also because I think we all can agree the Trek shows are awfully spendy and should be re-evaluated in a time of belt tightening.
They have a lot of new seasons coming out in the pipeline for all their shows… I wouldn’t say that’s uncertain. I wouldn’t imagine they’d announce a spin off from Picard before the season finishes so as not to spoil anything
No interest in DSC, 31 or an Academy series whatsoever, but SNW is fun enough if you can set aside extreme-canon-bending, and if PIC S3 turns out to be a winner, I’d be open to watching continued adventures with some of our TNG/VOY/DS9 legacies. I plan on definitely catching more Prodigy, as that was a pleasant surprise, and while I haven’t really warmed up to LD yet, I hope to.
One thing for sure, though. As long as P+ remains the home of all-things Sheridan, I’ll be tuning in. Huge fan of his stuff.
Well I am excited for S31 and Starfleet Academy. And as much as I like Taylor Sheridan’s stuff, Tulsa King was a bit of a letdown (and I’ve read it was an expensive nightmare to make), and 1923 was hit or miss.
…they’d really have to go in a compelling direction with a 31 show to get me on-board, what they did with “Emperor Georgiou” before I gave up on DSC turned me off in a major way. The Academy idea hasn’t interested me since Harve Bennett tried it in the late 80’s. As to Tulsa King, my wife and I treated that one as more of a fun-watch, we had some laughs. We’ve just started 1923, so the jury is still out on that, but I’ve watched 1883 through twice. My affinity for westerns and Star Trek (the original ‘western in space’) are neck-and neck.
I too have watched 1883 twice. Defied all my expectations, and is not the sort of thing I normally enjoy (slow moving and atmospheric) but quickly became a favorite.
I won’t spoil it for you, but 1923 is good, but not nearly as strong as 1883, and a tad uneven. Based on how I saw it develop over the last year, I suspect it was originally designed to be a single-season series, but perhaps when Harrison Ford signed on, they tacked on a few episodes and decided to split it into two 8 episode seasons, which means there’s a little fluff here and there, like they’re stretching the story a bit further than intended.
It also feels like the story was reorganized after being expanded, because there’s some stuff that feels awkwardly placed: moments that feel like obvious cliffhanger material that occur in the middle of an episode, while the actual season ending feels like a random episode conclusion.
Three episodes in and haven’t been disappointed in P3 yet. Shocker. Are people skiing hell today? ;)
But I have to say that if you haven’t warmed up to LDX after the first season or two I just don’t see anyone warming up to it. Honestly I caught up with S3 recently and it is easily the worst season of the 3. And it was bad to begin with. My advice is to not waste your time if you haven’t like what you’ve seen.
Regarding the future of Trek, I feel there is still potential and plenty of interesting places they can go to but in the hands of Kurtzman? My answer is a huge no to anything that even LOOKS like it might be good. Even if P3 turns out to be good my mind won’t change. There is just too much negative associated with them at this point and I feel like it would have to take a string of good productions to change my tone on that.
I see SNW getting a third season, and DIS getting a “final” season, but that’s it as far as live action goes. Then SNW goes on, and maybe one other live action series.
As much as fans love the idea of shows filled with legacy characters, I’m not sure that’s a good business idea, since it wouldn’t have broad appeal. The general audience has no idea who Janeway is.
No idea what the viewing stats are for the show, but lots of kids know who Janeway is now, due to PRO…
I know that when SNW was airing, it believe it was noted by Deadline as the most talked-about or most-searched show during the period, beating out the likes of Stranger Things and Obi-Wan Kenobi which were both airing new episodes. That’s a big deal, and shows it had mass appeal.
Edit: It was The Wrap, and “most in-demand.” https://www.thewrap.com/top-tv-shows-paramount-plus-star-trek-strange-new-worlds-season-one-finale/
That was a snapshot of that time period. Stranger Things ended 2022 as the most streamed series and Halo as the most streamed on Paramount+ followed by 1883. None of Paramounts originals landed in the top 15 most streamed series of 2022, not did Disney’s.
Good lord. Please back up a second and stop arguing for argument’s sake. All I was trying to do is prove that it has a wide appeal. I’m not arguing it was the hottest show of all time. Facepalm.
Correct — Halo is the top streaming series on P+ to date.
Isn’t SNW just a bunch of legacy characters too though?
My answer would be yes and no. Chapel, for example is Chapel in name only. It is obvious to anyone who saw TOS this is not the same person. This show works a ton better if they admitted it was a complete “reimagining” of Trek.
Agreed with Anthony’s take on Discovery. I don’t see it bringing in more new viewers at this point, five seasons in, and while the production cost is likely less of an issue because of how it’s distributed internationally, it’s feeling more and more like it’s run its course, and could easily be replaced by a spin-off, focusing on Section 31 or the Academy. Of the two, I guess I’d prefer the Section 31 show if it gives me more Michelle Yeoh. But she’s a hot commodity these days, would that show be beneath her?
Discovery was pulled from Netflix shortly before season 4 started, so there’s no international distribution outside of Paramount’s own streaming service and Bell Media (or what it’s called exactly) in Canada.
Keep SNW and DSC and drop the animated ones.
I would be OK dropping LDS, but Prodigy isn’t just good, it’s key to attracting a younger audience that the franchise will need to stay relevant in the future. Older TOS/TNG audiences aren’t getting any younger.
Agreed, I can see them saying, “can we really afford two animated series,” and then asking, OK, so tell me which one is growing the audience more, and that of course is Prodigy for the reason you just mentioned.
Yeah, so I think LDS ends up on the chopping block.
Well, no. LDS is probably the least expensive of all 5 ST shows and I know you like this “growing the audience” narrative but until you show actual figures to support your claim, I’m going to continue thinking that LDS is as much an audience grower than the other shows. Just because it caters to the nostalgic TNG crowd with its references to that series doesn’t mean newer viewers, young and old, won’t enjoy it.
Anecdotally, but I have one person in my circle of friends who only watches LDS and never watched any other Trek in his life, he probably can’t tell a Vulcan from a Horta, but he likes the humor and the characters.
I think a lot of the comments here are going under the assumption that shows are “on the chopping block.” But the truth is that we don’t know that’s true.
Cuts might not even affect Trek — P+ makes tons of other shows. If it does affect Trek (and I do think it will to some degree) — my guess is that it would mean more focused spending, not necessarily cancelations.
As said elsewhere, I think slowing down on churning out 52 episodes a year is possible if not likely. A month between each series airing, extending hiatuses between seasons, that sort of thing.
I could see DSC concluding, but only because it’s had a five successful seasons. But I do actually think it’ll get a 6th.
I agree with all of this.
Scheduling content to keep subscribers from dropping and returning one of the key strategies that streamers are focusing on.
Evening out the appeal of new releases so that subscribers find new things that hold their interest year round, and getting them to try other franchises the streamer offers, is part of it.
We’ve seen on HBO Max and Showtime that shows that are getting dropped are the ones with low viewership. In some cases, they represent less than 3-5% of viewers and/or aren’t doing much to extend the demographic range of offerings.
(Netflix has its own incomprehensible formula.)
So, if we flip that, it suggests that new shows that can draw in both a franchise’s base and beyond will be more likely to get greenlit.
An expensive live action one that just holds the core but provides no growth is vulnerable, but perhaps a lower cost animated series that the does the same may be viable.
My predictions, based on this.
SNW gets at least season three (now in preproduction) and a fourth.
Discovery gets a final season, perhaps sixth and no more, unless it’s holding its audience better in season five than it did in four.
Lower Decks gets at least a fifth season.
Prodigy rolls on, if only because Paramount Plus still needs to build kids content.
If Yeoh is still keen, on the basis of prestige and profile, Paramount Plus will spend whatever it takes to give her a flagship show or limited series to broaden the franchise base, similar to the approach for the Sheridan franchise.
Depending on the viewership numbers, Matalas’ new 25th century show gets greenlit (but the demand metrics are falling off so the demographics may be critical in determining what exactly gets buy-in).
The Academy Series stays in development hell. There’s a market opening with the CW turning away from the teen market, but there are reasons this show hasn’t happened yet.
Yes, scheduling to keep subscribers from dropping is key. But with a much more diverse slate these days, I don’t think they necessarily need wall-to-wall Star Trek. As was said by someone else, we just survived 6-7 weeks in between Prodigy and Picard.
As long as there is something new and exciting every few weeks, it keeps the app fresh and justifiable for viewers. It doesn’t all have to be Star Trek.
And even for those subscribing just for Star Trek, a month window between each is probably fine.
Likewise, based on your predictions, it doesn’t sound like much will change. If DSC gets a 6th season, that’s pretty damned good. Not a lot of shows get that many seasons.
Seriously? The writing for just one season of PRO is above and beyond what DSC has had to offer in four! Animation might not be your thing, but if you care about Trek stories that feel like a continuation of TNG, DS9, and VOY, you should give it a chance!
I say, keep SNW and PRO, possibly LD (if they decide to get a tad more serious), and definitely add a Legacy show (Bashir heading up S31, with Georgiou, Raffi, Garak, William Boimler, and Thomas Riker on board), and you’ve got a GREAT line-up going forward! 🌠😉👍🌌
Totally agree about Prodigy. How much I enjoyed that season really came out of left field for me. Very well done.
My only complaint is that my kids have outgrown it. I loved watching Clone Wars when my kids were young, and as much as I thought PRO was fun, I imagine it would have been even more enjoyable if I could have watched it with little ones.
I have 4 nephews aged 6-11 and none of them watch movies/series. Everything is gaming. No kid cartoons, no going to the movies, just constant gaming.
None of my business, but that’s not right.
Keep Strange New Worlds, give Matalas a show. I could care less if the rest dies despite enjoying Lower Decks. Discovery looks like it costs a fortune and I find it to be more manic to watch than a CGI movie aimed at toddlers.
This is the kind of fan this community doesn’t need, calling anyone who enjoys a highly successful series a toddler.
Calm down. Everyone is entitled their opinion.
He didn’t say everyone who enjoys it is a toddler. He said it’s aimed at them. The term “toddler” aside, PRO is very clearly aimed at the pre-teen audience.
Boy. I said it’s more manic than a CGI movie aimed at toddlers. ie Trolls, Boss Baby, Minions. The sorts of movies that switch shots every two seconds and always have music blaring to keep the attention of toddlers. I didn’t say Discovery fans are toddlers or that it’s a show made for toddlers.
I happen to think it’s awful, but I stopped watching midway through season 3. I don’t like it, so I don’t watch it. If others like it, that’s great. …anyway, it’s been cancelled now. As I expected when seeing this article.
What’s with the name calling? This is borderline trolling?
I’ve stopped reading his posts. He has proved to be a troll. It’s best not to feed them. Just ignore them. Name calling is his M.O. when you say something he doesn’t like.
Discovery is not my favorite, but it has its qualities and deserves more respect.
Indeed, I am certainly not one of them, but DSC does seem to have a substantial fan base out there. To each their own.
If you “could care less”, you’re saying that you care at least a little? That’s good, I guess…
Seriously, PRO has (quite surprisingly for us) had very strong, consistently good writing for its first season. The looks might not be top notch (mostly just character movement being an issue), but the story absolutely makes up for it!
This is why I think Trek easily could cut costs and still keep their shows. Although I would prefer they go away completely and come back with new people at the helm. But if they had decent writing and cut back on production value most I suspect would be happy with the result. The biggest complaint of the Kurtzman shows hasn’t been “poor special effects” or “crappy looking sets”. The complaint that constantly comes up is “Bad writing.” “Weak characters”. “Terrible plots”.
Things are tightening… not only from the point of view of deals in Variety and Hollywood Reporter, but even many experienced crew are not expecting new work until the summer.
I still don’t get why all of the streamers seem to feel that the way to make more money is to make their services worse.
Thank you!!! I feel the exact same. It’s totally illogical.
Michelle Yeoh’s career is on fire right now which helps sell a Section 31 spinoff but, unlike the early days of All Access, Paramount will need to be sold on a concept that they’ll be willing to put money into. There’s also the possibility that she may not be available.
A Discovery spinoff of any kind only seems possible if the numbers are there to support one. If Discovery returns and trails SNW and Picard season 3, a spinoff will be a tough sell and that could be a wrap on that era (season 5 will be make or break).
A sixth season Discovery will depend on the shows performance with thin the first coupleof weeks of season 5. It’s probably a make or break season.
You could probably produce a third animated series and all three would still cost less than any 10 episodes of a live action Star Trek series so there’s quite a bit more flexibility there for renewals on Prodigy and Lower Decks.
The challenge for Star Trek now is that the various live action series are competing against each other as well other original content produced specifically for the platform. Paramount+ doesn’t need Star Trek in the way it did when Discovery debuted and is now holding its own with a more diverse pool of subscribers.
You briefly hit on what I think this is about… This might not be about slashing budgets or canceling shows outright, but being smarter about what gets greenlit, and using budgets more efficiently. Making sure shows are well-mapped out so things don’t spiral out of control with spending, and maybe can even be made for slightly less.
I read rumors that Picard S2 for example went over budget late in the season, which just makes it all the more frustrating, and is exactly what they want to avoid.
That pretty much nails it. Streaming is reverting to a more traditional model of total viewership and demos. The endless well of cash to promote streamers has come to an end.
Unless you are Apple.
It is incredible to me to see how much Apple spends on shows that it seems like nobody watches.
I think they are taking the long view. Lot’s of really great and costly content, but more shows needed…so they keep building more high quality content while the rest are now doing major cutting…so perhaps they win in the end like Apple frequently does?
But what they is producing is some of the best television available. They have tons of cash and plenty of time to build.
That well runs deep.
Apple & Amazon are different animals. They have revenue generation from other non entertainment related sources. Bezos can afford to build rockets for gosh sakes. And Apple can spend $2.5 BILLION for rights to MLS. A growing league yes but one that just doesn’t have many domestic eyes on it and also, ironically enough, by putting it behind a pay wall on a service not a lot get means it won’t be getting many more. They can much more easily absorb losses from their non revenue generating endeavors. And honestly that’s a bit disturbing to me. But that’s a whole other can of worms.
I’m very interested in Strange New Worlds and Prodigy, less interested in Lower Decks, and least interested in Discovery. I love Saru and would love to see more of him, and I like Culber and Tilly, but I’m not that wild about most of the other Discovery characters.
As long as we keep getting Strange New Worlds, I’ll be reasonably happy.
Agreed about Saru. Even though I dropped DSC after 2 seasons, for me he was easily the most complex, interesting and original character on the show. And Doug Jones is excellent. The rest, not so much.
Doug Jones is wonderful, and we’re lucky to have him for Star Trek. I just wish he was in a better show.
Couldn’t agree more. Saru was wasted on Star Trek Discovery.
It wouldn’t break my heart if all of this came to an end. I’ve noticed a kind of zoned-out indifference to the newer shows, from fans and noobs alike, barring the occasional jolt provided by Lower Decks, SNW, or the current season of Picard. On the other hand, when someone I know begins watching TOS/TNG/DS9/VOY, man, they become emotionally hooked and really touched by that stuff. I think that’s the Star Trek that’ll last. And Picard’s third season would be a fine way to wrap it all up with some good will.
It’s going to take awhile for the new shows to be on the level like the classic Trek level.
For example I am loving LDS, SNW and PRO but they are still far below my love of TNG, DS9 and VOY. Those three hold a special place in my heart and I don’t know if they will ever be topped.
I think that is a typical feeling of the Trek that draws you in. I feel that way about TOS. Nothing will be as good as it to me. I liked DS9 and Enterprise but TOS is still the king to me. To people who discovered Trek though TNG, I’ve no doubt most feel that way about Picard & Co. And as much as it pains me to admit it, I’m sure there are at least a few who discovered Trek with the nu stuff. And to them, nothing will be as good. There. I said it. Now let’s never speak of it again.
I’ll stick with my prediction — no Picard follow-on, and LDS ends with the 4th season now in production. DSC, Prodigy and SNW keep on rolling.
Hard to see Lower Decks being “on the bubble” with the attention Paramount is giving it lately – Mariner in the Big Game Spot, a themed bar on the Star Trek Cruise with special art from one of the show’s designers, the show’s lead on said cruise AND the official podcast she hosts returning next week. Not to mention the SNW crossover.
Good point. There are some “sky is falling” types (reminiscent of certain youtubers who’ve declared DSC canceled literally every few months since 2017) who seem to think that Paramount isn’t giving Trek any promotion.
Far from the truth. I mean, they just had a trailer for PIC during the NFL AFC game, and a Super Bowl commercial that included Pike, Mariner, and another major TV spot that featured Murf.
There were massive Star Trek billboards in Times Square for SNW and PIC this past year, while NYCC and SDCC both had major presences for Discovery and others. To say they’re not spending money to promote them is just patently false.
Funny thing is LDS is the show I can see going the longest, especially because it’s cheaper (probably) and has become adored in the fan base.
And people seem super excited about the crossover with SNW! 😀
Discovery is winding down and as SNW is just getting startes. If Picard season 3 performs as well as SNW in 2022, Picard season 3 is a jumping off point for a standalone series set in the 24th century.
Not my first choice of course but that feels logical based on what we know at the moment. I’d also say it’s possible one other show joins them soon. But it will be on a smaller budget.
The beginning of this article troubled me…the words “cost cutting”, and ” corporate level” scare me, the average fan. But as I read the whole article, I am willing to accept changes, as long as the Trek franchise continues in some form, on Paramount+. Been a fan since its birth, 1966. At 71 years old, I enjoy the new Trek as much as the old. So, I’m sure I speak for all Trek fans in saying…”hey corporate, keep Star Trek boldly going”.
The Final Season tag has value, so I think we’ll know well ahead of time if Discovery is ending.
I expect the show will reach a natural conclusion with season 6, 7, or even 8.
My money is on 5 being the end of the show and maybe they go and make a few mini series/streaming movies.
They are already trying to claim it’s went longer than Star Trek Enterprise because it has ran 5 seasons versus 4 even though Star Trek Enterprise has way more episodes.
I know the streamers aren’t making money, but the business channel was reporting a few days ago that P+ seemed to be in pretty good shape, relative to the industry. That said, if P+ is pruning the Trek tree, I’d expect:
Discovery and Lower Decks are done.
Prodigy won’t require a renewal decision until later in the year.
Anything “in development” will likely stay there another 12-18 months.
No Picard spin-offs.
SNW is picked up, but later in the year.
To all those folks who kept going on about cancelling/renewing only to satisfy their Trek itch, or just wished death to all things Kurtzman….be careful for what you wish for. You may get it.
That’s not a bad assessment of sort of the worst case scenario I do think they would give discovery one final season so they can have an ending to it though. I do think SNW S2 wii get greenlighted very quickly though — they don’t want to end up with an awkward 9 months to a year break next year for live action content – that’s going to kill subscriptions,
I’m sure you meant S3 of SNW, since S2 is already filmed! Just wanted to point that out for others who seem to think the entire franchise is collapsing…
But I agree, there won’t be 9 months between shows maybe one or two at most. There’s already enough done or nearly complete to last till the end of the year, btw (SNW, DSC, LDS, with PRO in production too).
If I had to guess we’ll get an announcement of a new series in the late fall, to replace PIC’s spot in the lineup, but it might not air until late 2024 or early 2025. DSC, SNW will be both be renewed, with DSC reduced to 10 episodes.
P+ has plenty of Trek content for this year. The Prodigy contract will provide content into 2024. If they are wanting any new live action content for 2024, now’s the time to either s**t or get off the pot.
I think that’s putting it quite harshly — they rarely announce a renewal before an unaired season begins. You may hear about it while it’s running or shortly thereafter. “Now” is not the time to make the announcements.
That said, if panicky fans like everyone here start causing an uproar online, they may be forced to announce early to appease skittish stockholders.
No one is panicky, but we aren’t ignoring that announcements on new Trek content “coming soon” were plentiful from P+ exec’s throughout last year. So far, crickets.
Yeah, that’s what I meant — thanks.
I’m not so sure about killing subscriptions. Unless you are talking about a 9 month break for ALL new content. They do have stuff besides Trek even though none of it appeals to me. As has been said, their biggest property right now is Yellowstone. Sure, they will probably feel a dip. But not that much.
Myself, even if they put a month or two between seasons I’m still killing my service for those months. I don’t want to pay for something I’m not using. But I think most people are lazier than I am and have a tendency to subscribe and just keep it going even if they aren’t using it.
Called it for Discovery. Further, that P+ has moved it to 2024 solidifies the assessment that anything “in development” is likely gonna stay there for a while. I’m a tiny bit wobbly on that, having seen episode 3 of Picard – my exact opinion may be a spoiler. P+ seems happy to spread any Trek content currently under contract over the next two years.
I understand but I’m one of those who very much would LOVE to see Trek sever connections with Kurtzman and Secret Hideout. And if I get my wish I would be VERY happy. At this point I’ve decided I’d rather have no Trek than bad Trek. Of course worse case scenario in this is we end up with someone worse. Very possible. But I feel it’s a low % play and if it does come to pass we are pretty much in the same boat as now.
“At this point I’ve decided I’d rather have no Trek than bad Trek.”
Wow. You know that nobody is putting a gun to your head forcing you to watch, right?
What you call “bad Trek,” I call “fun, exciting Trek.” Some of which I can watch with my whole family, some of which is only meant for adults.
Thank goodness TPTB don’t listen to the fans on most decision-making.
True but that is the nature of fandom. Fan care. Fans wish for the quality that brought them in to begin with.
I cannot think of any Trek on the current menu that is meant only for adults.
I do agree that TPTB probably ought not listen to the fans. They should just focus on making good stories. That doesn’t mean what they end up producing will be good. Case in point: Secret Hideout Trek.
This article is based on nothing
I hate to say it, but you’re mostly right. One vague comment about wanting to be more cost effective, and suddenly it’s doom and gloom from everyone. I think it’s far too early to even speculate on what this even means. One good quarter for them could completely pivot their next statement.
I mean, who knows what “spending cuts” even means? Could be marketing, could be hiring freezes, you name it.
Yeah, it is more of an editorial, albeit based on some assumptions given general P statements.
Except that Paramount has not announced a new series or any renewals for over a year???
Nor should they have made any such announcements. SNW, DSC, LDS, and PRD are all announced to have new seasons, and Picard is in its final season. I wouldn’t expect any announcements for at least 4-6 months.
SNW has been in the can for months, same for Discovery. Nothing has been announced beyond the upcoming seasons.
SNW production on season two had close to wrapped before the season was officially announced.
This seems set to repeat as preproduction appears to be happening in Mississauga at CBS Stages, again, with radio silence officially.
I’m glad to see that Anthony finally wrote about this issue, many months after I first brought it to his and Laurie’s attention in an All-Access comment. The situation looks grim. The shows are very expensive and don’t seem to have caught on with a broader audience. And the current Paramount regime doesn’t seem to be enthusiastic regarding Trek in any way, shape or form.
All evidence suggests the complete opposite. Every show was renewed last year, and Kurtzman was signed to a huge extension. Everyone, just ignore him, he’s just waving around his underpants for attention.
Yeah. The current regime greenlit renewals of all of these shows, and Bob Bakish has gone all in on streaming and mentioned Star Trek multiple times as a cornerstone franchise.
Yellowstone/Taylor Sheridan is the new star player, but it’s not like they’re all cheap. 1923 costs a reported $22 million an episode.
Streamers are under pressure to profit sooner, but they still need to grab market share as fast an early as they can. Paramount+ is the fastest growing of them at the moment (thanks in large part to a deal for cricket in India, but still!). Keeping Trek going is key to retention, so the real question here is if that means 4 or less shows a year and when any older series is going to be deemed less valuable than a shiny new one.
I also read Tulsa King was a nightmare — it was already expensive and then went way over budget thanks to problems with filming in Oklahoma (Season 2 is moving to Texas).
Avoiding those kinds of overruns are going to be crucial to their success.
And yeah, 1923 had to be insanely expensive for that cast alone! Harrison Ford, Helen Mirren, Timothy Dalton, and Robert Patrick, that couldn’t have been cheap…
Plus filming in Africa.
Just curious, does anyone out there know how much an episode of live-action Trek costs, on average?
I heard SNW and DIS weigh in at about $8MM per episode. PIC is in the same range maybe a bit more; I’ve seen $8-9MM per. For PIC, take into account Stewart’s reported $750K per episode payday.
What Will said! About $8 mil for Discovery, that’s where they started. Several of the shows got a hefty subsidy at times through international licensing deals and tax rebates (Picard got $15 million for season 1 to film in LA, I assume that’s happened in subsequent seasons). Not sure what the budget for the animated series are.
We’ll see who’s right, homeboy. I wouldn’t bet the farm, if I were you.
LOL, wrong, but awesome!
And a day later Discovery is no more. I don’t think I was particularly off the mark with my comment. The future for streaming is fucking bleak. Trek is a part of this landscape that is rapidly being gutted. Strange New Worlds and maybe Lower Decks make it out of this alive. Prodigy will probably see a second season and thats it and any potential future Picard era set show and Section 31 and Academy will never see the light of day.
The shows are very expensive and don’t seem to have caught on with a broader audience.
Huh? Is this Mr. Santos? ;-)
I think that is a bit of an exaggeration but there is also an element of truth to it. I’ve seen articles elsewhere about other streaming services having financial issues. P+ would be no exception. What this actually means in the long run is unknown. But again, there are certain logical conclusions that can be drawn based on what information is reaching us on the outside. That said there are ways they can attack this without cutting costs or cancelling programming. The question is, are they willing to make those steps?
A lot of speculation – this is mine:
They don’t want to lose the subs they got from Star Trek. Yes, they are going all in with Yellowstone, but they have said to focus on franchises, and that primarily means Trek first.
I do think we may go down to just 4 shows – maybe just 3 for next year.
2) Lower Decks
The 4th for next year would either be Discovery 6, or it will be open.
in either case, 2024 will be the 3 above + the Titan series.
The Janeway series is Prodigy, she is now a lead for season 2. She may come in on the Titan series as a guest, but that’s it for live action Janeway.
The wildcard will be the Kirk series. Depending on how this season goes with JTK, I think we may get a JTK series with him a Farragut captain with Bones, Mitchel, and Scotty, probably for a season, and then a second one, or possibly a half season, which leads into combining the JTK series and SNW, as Kirk takes the Enterprise in 2026 for the TOS first year, and then it closes.
SNW will be sticking around for sure, and I think a Picard spinoff is likely too. I hope Prodigy sticks around, but then… I would really prefer a live action Janeway show.
I’m not really excited about an academy show. I hated the red squad episode of DS9 and was less impressed with Tilly’s little outing with her cadets. But I admit I am not part of that “younger more diverse market” such a show would be targeted toward.
I’m on the fence about S31. I think if done right it could work. But then I would actually prefer if the reformed emperor became more like a temporal agent fighting the temporal cold war and not based in any one time period. Maybe work with “Carl” The Guardian of Forever.
Even though I was very displeased with the decision, I guess it was a blessing that Discovery got sent to the far future and all knowledge of that trip got covered up and forgotten in the 23rd century. If it gets pruned, it really can’t interfere with the rest of Trek. Because of this, it would probably be the easiest to end without putting anything else in jeopardy.
Let’s hope for the best that all of our favorite shows continue. But if cost cutting Trek shows needs to happen, then this is pretty much my list.
Honestly? You’ve seen how every other streamer is acting now right? Everyone is cutting back MASSIVELY. Like, they’re slashing shows left and right and Paramount/CBS were never in a strong position to begin with. I think the future is dire. I can see a scenario in which Strange New Worlds is the only show left. Discovery is likely done now after its fifth season, that was the contract all the actors signed originally and if they go further they get to renegotiate a pay bump. Animation isn’t that much cheaper than live action (Netflix has killed a tonne of animated shows lately), Lower Decks has a better chance that Prodigy I guess when it comes to costs. The sets for the Titan have been struck, so there’s no real chance I see of a Titan series happening, not at least in LA which only shot there due to Patrick Stewart’s clout. Section 31 is a perpetual nothingburger of a show that Michelle Yeoh would be insane to do given how her career is having a renaissance moment again this year after a few years back with Crazy Rich Asians and now Everything Everywhere All at Once.
The best chance Trek has for the future is for Paramount to get bought out by someone bigger than them who would have an eye for how to turn it profitable as P+ in general is currently running at a minor loss of about 300 Million dollars. Thats 3 seasons of Trek right there (not saying thats Trek’s fault, but you get the idea of how they need to cut costs just to make even).
Paramount just announced they added 10M new subscribers in Q4. With a total of 77M subscribers they’re ahead of Hulu and are behind only Disney, Amazon, and Netflix (in that order)
I do think there will be consolidation in the future, with studios merging/acquiring one another, though. I think it’s entirely possible Netflix buys Paramount at some point to maintain relevance as the landscape continues to evolve, but I still think that’s a long way off.
And if it happened it would be because Paramount is strong and Netflix wants its power, not because it’s weak.
Starz looks to be the next streamer on the merger block.
Lionsgate is separating it from its movie business, which looks like a set up for a sell-off. They’re just a bit smaller than Paramount’s streamers in terms of subscribers.
I suspect that the market will wait for that sale to be resolved before looking at Paramount. In the meantime, it gives Paramount Global more time to pursue its own strategy.
The truth is, we don’t know the numbers behind the shows (costs and viewership) so it’s hard to speculate. But I’ll try anyway from a slightly different angle. Paramount I assume has segmented the Trek audience in 2 main categories. 1. Bring new folks, that never watched any Trek. 2. Bring the “old guard” to subscribe to P+ and keep them happy. As a pitch, each show needs to deliver on one of these goals. The more the show overlaps with the other, the more chances it has to stay afloat. With that, I think we can divide the shows like this: 1. New audiences – DSC, PRO and SNW (because it’s prequel and that makes it an easy entry point) 2. Existing fans – LDS and PIC (hopefully S3 will deliver on the promise) For the existing fans, between LDS and PIC you have 20 weeks worth of content per year along with every other Star Trek show and movie ever produced on P+. That seems like a good enough incentive to keep fans subscribed. For the new audiences it is trickier, since you want to cast a wide net and hope that at least one of the shows will deliver on the goal. That is the reason we have 3 shows in this category and it’s smart that those 3 don’t overlap with each to much and it’s targeting different segments of the expanding the franchise category. From all the shows so far, again this is pure speculation, but from the buzz so far, SNW is the most successful one that manages to sit well in both audience categories. It’s a prequel so it’s easy for new folks to jump in, and it makes the existing fans very happy. So if I were a betting man, I would say SNW is the safest show of all. As for the others shows, I don’t think that the plan is to have less than 5 shows, but the questions that will be raised in the board rooms and pointed towards Kurtzman will be: “Can you make cheaper shows, but still be able to deliver the same results (if not bigger)”. If the answer is yes, than any of the other shows are in jeopardy. LDS looks like it’s cheap show to make, and it fills a great niche for existing fans. I don’t see this going away any time soon. PRO looks expensive and we have no idea if it’s reaching the intended audience and if so in what numbers. My gut feeling tells me that PRO looks like it’s resonating more with a much older audience (and existing fans) than it was intended. That being said, since it’s a show aimed at kids and you need way more time to bear the fruits of it, (merchandise) it might be judged differently and given much more seasons. So I would say PRO will go several more seasons, since it’s the only show that is intended for kids and I’m just not sure if you can ditch this one and create a new one that is cheaper. Probably Mulgrew is not cheap, but she can say goodbye to the kids after this season and end up in a live action show (or not), which will make PRO cheaper. DSC is in it’s 5th season which is an eternity for a streaming show. That is a success in on itself whether we like the show or not. If it lasted this long than it must be bringing good numbers for P+. The question would be, can it bring more? If not, than they’ll certainly go with a much cheaper spin-off of DSC (Tilly Academy). That show will have 2 goals. Find new audiences and keep the DSC fans subscribed. The real questions we should all be talking about is how big is the DSC audience compared to the other shows? If it’s really big, than they might need another show to keep them happy. I’m assuming that is why S31 with Yeoh is still being considered. But an S31 show has the potential to be more than just keeping the DSC fans subscribed. As the article suggested, it could open up the Asian market and if it is set in the 25th century and they bring legacy characters (Bashir, Garak, Worf?, Quark…) than that can certainly appeal to the existing fans or the “old guard”. But it will be a very expensive show to make. PIC is coming to an end, but what the future of the 25th century Legacy concept holds will be decided in the coming weeks. This season is 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, so the critics are saying go for it. We’ll see if we (the fans) are on the same page. But it’s a no-brainer that if… Read more »
No, Star Trek I would have no reason to watch Paramount…
Seconded. No new Trek is the day I cancel P+
I cancel P+ every time there is a gap between shows. There is literally nothing else on P+ that interests me. I like westerns and am curious about this Yellowstone thing but I just don’t trust it. Trek is the only show I will subscribe for from the beginning, except for LDX. It’s THAT bad. Other shows on other services I wait until their seasons have ended. And even then I won’t do it unless there are at least two other shows I want to watch wrapped up or wrapping up. I guess that places me in the minority, admittedly.
i noticed the lack of announcements and renewals a while ago… but the thing about disco… season 5 i cant imagine being the last since it is the anchor show and they would want to have michelle paradise and the writers putting together a final season instead of just a season that turns out to be the final season.
also the fact they have been buying back shows from netflix and amazon etc that means they see some kind of value in it all…
and i know it’s hard to believe (and strange and hilarious how it’s all gone down) but they are still working towards a 4th kelvin movie…
What do you expect them to announce? Season 3 of SNW before S2 airs? Season 6 of DSC before S5 airs? Season 5 of LDS before Season 4 airs? I’m really confused by people thinking a lack of renewal announcements is strange.
im just noticing no live action shows were currently in production…didn’t mean to get anyone upset. usually one or another is production… i think things are fine. but yes they actually did start work on snw season 2 before season 1 even aired. and lower decks if renewed will get a two season order since it’s animated. but lower decks also was renewed for seasons 3 and 4 before 2 premiered. that was april of 2021 so it would maybe make sense it happens around april again… i think covid threw off the expected schedules and so now everyone is just sitting around waiting to air. one of the shows is gonna have to wait until fall. they are not gonna wait that long to decide… so picard now… then probably snw… then disco in summer… and lower decks early fall… lower decks will need a renewal before then since animation takes so long.
i have a friend who works there at paramount and listens in on the phone calls as part of his job… im afraid to even ask him what he knows… so im just gonna wait and see what happens.
like i said before since paramount has been buying back their shows from other streamers it makes sense they want to continue them. netflix for instance was paying for the entire budget of disovery… why would paramount snatch it back if they were just gonna end it. it was a sweet deal.
Paramount bought back the streaming rights for Discovery so they’re covering the costs of producing it.
With the exception of SNW, I think the other live action series are in a bit of a holding pattern but typically when a studio is excited by what they’re seeing before a show even airs, a decision has likely already been made on what comes next. So, best guess, the Picard sequel has probably already been given a go. Discovery will probably get one more season but the suits will be monitoring its performance to see if a spinoff to that series should move forward.
Renewal announcements prior to a series or season premiere is not an uncommon practice. What’s unusual is how many projects have been cancelled over the past 6 months after renewals have been announced or a season has already wrapped filming with no intention of ever airing it. As things stand now, things have shifted significantly in the past 13 months since Paramount announced its plans for Star Trek.
What’s a lock? Halo and pretty much anything related to Yellowstone. What’s also a lock? Star Trek. What’s unknown? Which flavor of Star Trek Paramount intends to move forward with and just how many live action series they can afford to produce. If season five isn’t the last for Discovery, season 6 very likely will be.
I hope they don’t kill Star Trek again. What happened in 2005 was ridiculous.
Cutting production won’t end well for them. I couldn’t be the only one who cancels P+ when there’s no Trek.
Scrap them all, hire new production personnel (especially writers) and do just one show that’s original and doesn’t steal from the past. And do away with half the supporting characters being assholes.
Trek passion is left at the boardroom door. Despite the utopian ideology, Trek lives or dies by the almighty dollar.
I get streaming needs to make money. I really do. but cutting offerings and demanding more money simultaneously = me cancelling my subscription. As I will soon be doing with HBO Max. I don’t go to streaming for reruns. I go for new content that is less and less likely to be on traditional TV beyond sitcoms and cop shows.
So, this article sounds like it spells doom and gloom for future Trek but then mentions several projects that could be greenlit. What a contradiction. They just announced a bunch of stuff at ST day what 6 7 months ago? Nothing furthers gonna be announced yet until the current shows have had their runs im guessing
Wait a second, a voice of reason? YOU HAVE NO PLACE HERE!
Although it’s obviously completely multi-factorial as stated in the article, the 3 massive problems with profitability that studios never seem to want to address even on a superficial level is…
a) Bloated costs of productions and salaries in the industry in general.
b) Bloated and unrealistic expectations by the executive branch of “instant successes and profit”
c) Massive online content piracy on a global level.
I think they are right to never address C. I think the smart ones like Netflix have just accepted that illegal pirated downloads will always be a thing, and it’s not worth going to any extraordinary lengths to try to stop it.
Study after study has shown that most people are willing to pay for content, so streamers just have to make the content good, easy to access, and reasonably affordable. That last one is where the real problems arise. Raise your prices too high and some will shed off and go back to pirating.
But the music industry learned decades ago (and i’m talking with blank tapes and writable CDs here) that spending hundreds of millions to try to prevent piracy is often fruitless.
I think a lot of this speculation is correct. Discovery is probably on the chopping block, and they’re going to focus on Strange New Worlds. Disappointing but I’d be happy if we got a series set aboard the Titan, maybe instead of the Academy show.
Great round-up. Time to sunset Discovery IMO – 5 seasons is a great run and the hype around it has been subsumed by the other live-action shows. It did yeoman’s work getting the franchise off the ground again and if S5 is as good as is being hyped, ending on a high note for the show would be a good way to go out.
S31 – Yeoh or no, past time to jettison this one. Great actor locked into a bad character and I’m not sure the idea of it exists for any other reason other than to use for the occasional press release.
Keep SNW for a while and the animated stuff. And then, maybe, just maybe, call it, until there’s a really strong idea for a post-Picard show? Anchoring a streaming property is not a great reason to tell stories in this or any universe. Whatever the next show is, having a strong reason for being in and of itself will help drive franchise longevity way more than a needless idea of year-round Trek.
Huh, this aged pretty well already. *claps for self*
If Paramount+ doesn’t continue to have new Trek, I’ll definitely be thinking about whether it makes sense to keep the subscription.
Personally although I enjoyed prior seasons of Picard, after just having watched E1 of the latest I’m not really that excited and am more interested in “Legacy” – the non-Picard characters are really carrying the Picard show in my opinion.
Discovery can end immediately. I watch it and it’s fine but it doesn’t grab me like Picard, Lower Decks, or Strange New Worlds. The distant future is just too distant (and too broken) and I hope they just end that timeline. An Academy series could be set at any point in Federation history and work better than then.
I have forgotten more Star Trek than many have ever seen. The golden days when TNG, DS9 and Voyager were on at the same time was the greatest. I have NOT watched one second of Discovery or Strange New Worlds. Maybe I will get to it but just got sick of hearing about the progressive/woke nonsense they shove in your face. I have watched Season 1 of Picard and was very disappointed with the ending, especially when they decided to turn Picard into an old android and turned 7 gay (they just can’t stop appropriating our culture). I did watch Espidoe 1 of Picard and will likely watch the rest as it is claimed to be the last TNG show. Overall, I would say they would be doing fine if they would stop alienating half of Star Trek fans. Should they wish to continue their crusade of progressive/woke ideology, then they will likely fail. Just my opinion. Good day to all.
The above article is a bit odd since it first of all envisions belt-tightening and lack of certainty about Star Trek, then pretty much business-as-usual.
I would guess a rationalisation and spacing out of the shows with Discovery and Picard not being replaced for some time when they end, but even complete cancellation is probably not *impossible* unfortunately.
So I’d guess a consolidation around a smaller number of shows and perhaps nothing new in live action until SNW has run for a while and DSC is gone. But I’m guessing.
Shorter seasons? They are already too short. I would rather have longer seasons and less shows. I already cancel Paramount+ for half the year for lack of new live action Trek.
This streaming thing has turned out to not been the gold mine some thought it would be. Disney, for one, has been bleeding subscribers. For different reasons of course but they also suffer in places other streamers are suffering from on top of that. Netflix had a similar issue but seems to have handled it better than Disney has. It will be interesting to see where this goes. My original theory many years ago was bundling might save some of these. Companies like Comcast or Cox may end up selling subscriptions in bundles. Sort of like cable for streaming. That might help a number of the smaller ones out. The finances of these services are pretty complicated.
Regarding Trek on P+… Obviously my personal feeling is the best situation for Trek is they scrap everything and start again later with new people running the show. If they do keep Trek around I suspect there won’t be as many shows in production at the same time and their budgets would get reduced quite a bit. Honestly I think if they improve the writing and plotting they could easily skimp on the other elements of the production. In fact, it feels like they placed all their money and efforts into SPFX and production design more than anything. It mostly LOOKS good but with terrible writing and terrible storytelling all of that is for naught. I’d rather have a GOOD Trek story with lower production values and a crap Trek story that looks really great. I suspect most fans would prefer that as well. This is not Star Wars.
Thank you for the updates on new developments. A few thoughts came to mind:
Adventures with Space Dad… er … I mean, Strange New Worlds. Call is a nostalgia trek if you want, but it’s hooked me with old-fashioned character-focused storytelling and eye-popping world-building that got me hooked on sci-fi in the first place. This is also “must see TV” for my partner (most decidedly not a sci-fi fan) and I when new episodes are available.
Picard is now put to rest. Decisions easy: dump the stupid cartoons. I’m not 9 years old.
You’re not 9, but my son just turned 10. “The cartoons” have brought him into the Trek fold.
Without “the cartoons,” you lose your future audience. Without a future audience, Star Trek becomes a cultural memory instead of an ongoing drama.
Are the budgets for each of these shows available? Genuinely curious how much they each average per episode?
Maybe if we get more Trek it’ll be less action oriented thus less special effects & more character driven thus more reuse of the same sets ie bottle episodes on like a station or ship or the academy. Also space the shows out a bit. Streaming did shoot themselves in the foot with being so easy to cancel & renew later & shows being so short that you only need to have the service for a month or 2 at a time or wait till fon & binge later.
Variety is reporting today that Discovery is ending with season 5 and that it is being delayed to 2024.
I see you and I got the info first. Must be because we’re from the same planet.
Umm… Red Alert: Paramount+ just cancelled Discovery.