CBS is bringing back Star Trek, but the new series will boldly go where no previous iteration of the show has gone before: on a digital platform.
In a first for CBS, the network announced this morning that a new Star Trek series will premiere in 2017 on the broadcast network before moving exclusively to subscription-on-demand service, CBS All Access. This will be the first series that CBS is producing solely for its digital platform, which launched in 2014. CBS All Access, which runs $5.99 per month, currently includes the entire library of every Star Trek television series.
CBS Studios International will distribute the series to other TV networks and digital platforms around the world.
Though CBS owns the show, and original creator Gene Roddenberry had initially developed it for CBS, it aired on NBC for three years from 1966-1969. The short-lived series spawned a massive pop culture franchise, which has included 12 feature films—with a 13th, Star Trek Beyond, due next year—and multiple spin-off shows.
The new series will be developed by executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who co-wrote and produced the rebooted film franchise, beginning with 2009's Star Trek and continuing with 2013's, Star Trek Into Darkness. CBS said the new show is not related to the upcoming Star Trek Beyond film and will feature new characters and settings.
"We've experienced terrific growth for CBS All Access, expanding the service across affiliates and devices in a very short time," said Marc DeBevoise, evp and general manager, CBS Digital Media. "We now have an incredible opportunity to accelerate this growth with the iconic Star Trek, and its devoted and passionate fan base, as our first original series."
The move to put the new Star Trek exclusively on a digital platform comes as the broadcast industry is looking for ways to bring in elusive millennial viewers who often eschew traditional television. CBS successfully launched Supergirl last week with an eye toward younger viewers. But overnight Nielsen ratings—especially among the adults 18 to 49 demographic that advertisers covet—have been down so far this season.
Nielsen will begin to roll out its new Total Audience Measurement tool to count viewers across multiple platforms next month.
Star Trek continues the trend of cable and broadcast networks banking on reboots or remakes of known properties that come with built-in fan bases. This season alone has seen TV versions of the films Minority Report and Limitless, as well as a revival of another decades-old TV show: The Muppets.