Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Star Trek's Rating Past On Why Discovery is Streaming

In a podcast, CBS Interactive CEO Jim Lanzone provided a solid reason on why Star Trek: Discovery is on CBS All Access rather then on CBS.
“Sci-Fi is not something that has traditionally done really well on broadcast. It’s not impossible, for the future, if somebody figures it out. And things like Lost and Heroes have had parts of, you know, sci-fi, but historically, a show like Star Trek wouldn’t necessarily be a broadcast show, at this point. And so, you kind of look at the other networks we have, CW and Showtime, it just fit the with the digital audience and having that digital Star Trek audience.”
Sadly he isn't wrong. The Original Series was always on the bubble of cancellation until it finally was in season 3. The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine got excellent rating as measured by syndication which would have been a quick cancellation only four or so episodes in on a network TV at the time. Star Trek: Voyager did ok for the UPN/CW but how they judged ratings was on a scale akin to syndication and again those numbers would have been a very quick cancellation on network TV at the time. Finally Star Trek: Enterprise was eventually cancelled after each year ending on the bubble and probably only lasted 4 seasons because of ancillary benefits like DVD sales which were still high at the time.

For many the natural "home" of Star Trek would have been the SyFy channel but remember that is a Comcast/NBC owned network so why would CBS hand that flagship franchise over to the competition? The options for a new Star Trek show are streaming or cable are thin since CBS doesn't have quite the breadth of channels that NBC enjoys and to consider it would mean CBS giving up some of their control over the franchise which they loathe to do. End result is the options for them were CW (been there, done that), Showtime (not prestige/adult enough), Netflix (but have to give up control), Hulu (part owner so probably considered), or keep for then infant plans to create their own streaming service. Thus Star Trek will premiere next summer on CBS All Access.

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