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Is There Television In Star Trek’s Future?

Roberto Orci says there could be, but it’s complicated

Anyone and everyone who has been talking about doing a Star Trek series has made one thing clear: Bad Robot, the production shingle of film director J.J. Abrams, would have to sign off on it.

But that has been tricky as well. When Viacom split up its film and television divisions into separate companies, that made it a bit difficult to figure out what to do with Star Trek, which has been both a television and film powerhouse for the company. What ended up happening was Paramount Pictures took the film franchise, and CBS Television took over the boob tube side, meaning technically, Star Trek is owned by two different companies.

That’s one reason why Bad Robot has yet to expand its successful film franchise reboot to television as well.

“Alex [Kurtzman] and I and Bad Robot want to make sure that nothing gets in the way of the movies,” Orci recently told Ask Mr. Kern. “But No. 2, Paramount controls the movies and CBS controls TV. So there is a little bit of a power struggle there in terms of what happens. I have mentioned to CBS the idea of a Star Trek seres and they are interested in it, but they would have to coordinate with Paramount and they would have to coordinate with Bad Robot. It is something we are trying to figure out.”

The Viacom split has greatly complicated the Star Trek franchise, and while it might seem the split was designed to prevent more television in the near future, the reasoning behind it was likely just the opposite. Viacom split up at the beginning of 2006. At the time, it bad been several months since the cancellation of “Star Trek: Enterprise” on the now-defunct UPN, and about four years since the last film.

While Paramount had been planning a new film to serve as a prequel to “Enterprise” written by Erik Jendresen, there was absolutely nothing going on in terms of a television series, with nothing appearing to pop up in the near future as well.

Star Trek had more than 600 hours of episodic television to maintain through various media outlets, and it was a task that would be too much for a much more slimmed down Paramount, plus CBS Television had dealt with this kind of work for many years, and it made sense to move the Star Trek television rights to them.

Now, however, there has been a highly successful movie, a heavily anticipated sequel, and talk of ending Star Trek’s seven-year hiatus from television. Yet, even though CBS Television could possibly move forward with a series with or without Paramount’s blessing, it also doesn’t want to interfere with something that is generating money for Paramount, and likely would not move forward without that blessing.

“It is something we are trying to figure out,” Orci said in the interview, courtesy of TrekMovie. “If we can figure out a beautiful timing for it, it is something we would all love to do. It is tricky, with multiple chefs in that kitchen. It is something many of us are thinking about and I want to see one, too.”

If there were to be a television series involving the Bad Robot crew, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will tie into the current alternate timeline universe created by the 2009 film.

“We haven’t even got to that point,” Orci said. “We haven’t even gone in to pitch, because the rights of how to get it done are so complicated that we are sort of waiting to see what can really happen, and see where the avenues of freedom are. For all I know, maybe it would be better to make it separate, or maybe it is better to tie it into the [movie] universe. I don’t know yet.”

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