Saturday, June 27, 2015

Star Trek's Return to TV Remains Unlikely Due to Rights Issues

One of the hopes for Star Trek fans is that the franchise would return to TV at some point in down and take advantage of what is being called the "golden age of TV" with the volume of high quality shows on the various networks. However current Star Trek movie producers David Ellison and Dana Goldberg explain to Collider that currently the forecast is not any time soon.
ELLISON: It’s something that we would love to be involved in. As I’m sure everybody knows, the rights situation given the CBS and Paramount divorce on the Star Trek rights is very, very complicated. The exact status of it is absolutely something being worked on. We would love to be involved, but all to be determined at this time.

GOLDBERG: You’re preaching to the converted. We would love it, both as fans and as people who would want to be involved in the making of them. We would love it. Everything you just said is right. It goes with what we were talking about before with television is you can just take more time to tell very specific stories and it would be fantastic. It’s not something we control, sadly.

ELLISON: Just for example how much we love it is when we were talking about Terminator recently and the episode we kept referencing was obviously whether or not they argue if Data actually doesn’t wanna get transferred, if he actually has a right and has free will and is a human being and switches him off. It’s amazing, the television show explored these incredibly deep phenomenal themes that we would absolutely love to do and be a part of, and we wish it was entirely up to us.

ELLISON: It’s wildly, wildly complicated. Just speaking towards going to something we do control, not trying to get myself into trouble by answering this bluntly, because you said it appropriately, is the Terminator rights were scattered all over the world prior to us getting involved. And it’s when a franchise has been around for 30 or 50 years, different people make different deals at different points in time, and it really took for Terminator the previous owner actually going bankrupt and going through obviously bankruptcy court, and then even after that it took a year to clean up the straggling pieces that that process did not clean up. We’re very thankful that the rights now all revolve under our house so they are now all at Skydance so we can control all assets of the property. That’s not always the case with franchises, and when they’re 50 years old, there’s a lot of complicated deals that have been made that sometimes prevent things that might seem obvious that need to happen from happening.
Exactly who has rights to what aspects of Star Trek are unknown but at the very minimum CBS Entertainment (who is considered the majority owner of the TV rights) and Paramount (owner of the movie rights) would have to agree on many aspects of the TV show. That alone is a massive hurdle to clear without the other unknown rights variables. Supposedly Paramount did hear a TV series pitch from the previous owner of the Star Trek Beyond website but that likely was just part of the negotiations to buy the website for the Star Trek 3 and is unlikely to lead anywhere. As it has been for the last few years, for whatever reason both Paramount and CBS Entertainment do not believe Star Trek can maintain both a movie and TV presence simultaneously and expressed little interest in pushing for a TV series. Basically any hope for a return to TV will have to wait until the current JJ Abrams executive produced movies have run their course which means at minimum after the 2016 release of Star Trek 3 but more likely not even this decade.

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