February 21 2024

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Frakes: Forget About Trek On TV

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If you’re waiting for a Star Trek series to air on television, don’t hold your breath.

Jonathan Frakes said it won’t be happening anytime soon.

Frakes, speaking at Fan Expos Regina 2015 last weekend, was asked about the possibility of a new televised Trek series.

The actor told the crowd that he had pitched a concept to CBS but that they weren’t interested in a new Trek show, not even one pitched by him.

Frakes went on to explain that CBS feels that it diluted the Star Trek brand during the 1990s and early 2000s, with Star Trek: Nemesis being the first Trek film to fail to make a profit.

So when the rebooted Trek movies did well, CBS decided to concentrate on them, and not branch out and make the same mistake as they did back then.

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176 thoughts on “Frakes: Forget About Trek On TV

  1. Twin Peaks, Arrested Development, the X-Files, and ‘bloody FULL HOUSE’ don’t cost millions to make, and also, the networks want to bring them back; CBS doesn’t want to make/license a new official Star Trek show. Until Moonves gives the green light, nothing’s happening.

  2. Nobody’s going to produce ‘wrap-up’ movies or TV shows just to please a small part of the fan base. If so-called ‘real’ Star Trek is what you want, you can always support and see the fan productions.

  3. I think that Bass Guitar Hero has won this argument (and I’m in agreement with him.)

  4. Same problems as mentioned above by Bass Guitar Hero; expensive budget for space scenes and the like. And you have to come up[ with great stories that could fit the format of a crime show but also be recognizable as Star Trek/sci-fi.

  5. CBS would have no interest in working with UK companies (aside from running the cable channels that they have in the UK.)

  6. THIS.

    And Frakes, at 60+, needs to do something different while he still can.

  7. Good for you, but it’s an open-ended debate. IMO the difference between now and when Enterprise ended is a rebooted film franchise that has appealed to worldwide audiences in a way not even the most successful Trek films ever did. A television company would be foolish to not at least be considering the upside of investing in new product to take advantage of this. Eventually, revelling in trickle-down interest in the back catalogue isn’t enough. The optics may not look good for a space-based series, but this franchise sells itself. We don’t need to look at a potential new series as another 26 episode a year commitment of capital, there are potential ways it could work with shorter seasons, obvious places where a sizable guaranteed fanatical audience would be welcome and a nostalgia-crazed atmosphere on TV that’s eve resurrected Coach and Full House of all things. If the main thrust of the argument against this ever happening is that it just hasn’t yet, that’s still just as much a supposition as the idea that it’s on the table as a serious option.

  8. As I said to somebody else, Coach and Full House don’t cost millions to make and nor do they require massive special effects; Star Trek other shows like it do.

  9. So will The X-Files and Twin Peaks, so did Doctor Who and Battlestar Galactica. These production companies all seem to eventually give in to the instinct to tap into their assets and revive marquee properties with splashy relaunches. It takes high profile showrunners and some convincing sometimes, but there’s too much temptation to try to recapture that magic and reap the financial windfall it would bring. If Paramount can gross three-quarters of a billion dollars with two films, no TV company is going to sneer at the idea of a smart way to expand upon that. CBS is certainly exploiting its legacy product, but that’s not profiting from the franchise in a way that promotes growth and looks ahead. I don’t think anyone is suggesting a repeat of two 26 episode shows sharing the same universe as the show that spun them off carried a movie franchise simultaneously, but there’s an expanded audience worldwide that right now is only getting one movie every 3-4 years. It took less than 10 years for Paramount to put Star Trek back on TV after The Motion Picture’s success. Over-saturation since then is a substantial factor, but the fact that Star Trek’s first appeal was always as a TV property has to be considered.
    I would think the first concern of any network executive would be that a new show would need to be a critical success that doesn’t erode over time the way DS9, Voyager and Enterprise did. All of these shows debuted like blockbusters and still found big numbers for season premieres, sweeps stunts and finales. The trick is finding the right creative team to capture longterm viewership. I don’t know if that means Manny Coto, Ron Moore, Bryan Fuller or someone else, but I do think it means keeping the line open to Bad Robot and J.J. Abrams with all the new audiences they brought to the table needing to be lured in. This is coming from someone who doesn’t love the Abrams films, I’m just looking at how the business model would be most feasible.
    Starz shells out big bucks for Black Sails, Netflix for Marco Polo and Daredevil, Showtime for Penny Dreadful. HBO has set a high bar for production values and high profit for product it owns with a subscription model, and a flexible one at that. I don’t really want to be the champion for the idea of Star Trek winding up on Showtime of all places, but it’s the only CBS property that makes any kind of sense to me. I don’t see this as something they’ll just sit on forever, not with the casual fanbase being so greatly expanded.

  10. I do think the odds are a lot better for an animated series. If nothing else, it would be a lot cheaper to produce than a live-action one, which probably would be the main incentive for CBS to go that route.

  11. The most feasible business model is the one CBS is currently doing with Trek. It could change in the future, especially if things begin to turn south, but it seems to be working fine for them right now.

  12. Correction: that’s not reality, it’s fiction. And no, that Kirk is not *the* Kirk because he’s from another universe. Just like all other versions of main characters which appear in or come from parallel universes.

  13. This is Hollywood – CBS is no different than any other studio looking to expand its reach and maximize profit. Resting on its laurels won’t tap into the new audience that’s into the rebooted Star Trek, only the hardcore fan base and percentage of new converts who sought out the legacy shows after liking the Abrams films. CBS is not a floundering studio like MGM barely coasting from creditor to creditor on the strength of its back catalogue, it’s the number one network on television, one with a vested interest in the CW which embraces genre fare and Showtime which wants desperately to emulate HBO’s upmarket and exclusive branding (happily spending lots of money for the level of ratings Enterprise managed in its final season).
    If the debate we’re having in miniature isn’t happening at CBS right now then I’m happy to concede, but I just think it’s madness to believe they would not be looking for a higher profile way to exploit their share in one of Hollywood’s biggest franchises. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, I recognize Star Trek’s ups and downs as a moneymaker and I might well be wrong, but it’s damned possible something new is in the works for a lot of reasons that have solid economic precedents.

  14. CBS is neither the CW or Showtime, though. CBS didn’t get to be the number one network by investing a lot of money into expensive shows that only appeal to a limited audience. Until that mindset changes, it’s doubtful that we’ll see a new Trek series from CBS anytime soon, although it’s possible an animated one may appear somewhere.
    .

  15. I hope the Klingons will go back to conquering planets in the new series TNG watered the Klingons down and made them more family Friendly, the Klingons on TNG were more concerned with Honor and Duty then Killing and conquering in fact the Federation prevented them from conquering planets cause in Star Trek 6 when Praxis exploded the Klingons had to go to the Federation for help and the Federation said we will help you but in return you have to Stop your ways of conquering planets and enslaving people so the Klingons had no choice but to change this was a mistake its sad the Klingons can not Conquer planets its there right to do so and the Federation is breaking there own rule by preventing them from doing so what about there prime directive that prohibits them from interfering with other cultures they are breaking that rule by preventing the klingons from conquering.

  16. Unfortunately (for you and all of the other whiners) he’s Jim Kirk NOW, and possibily forever.

  17. Unfortunately, CBS has no place for an animated show on its prime-time schedule, nor does it have a Saturday morning block like it used to.

  18. It would never fly on CBS proper, no. I would never argue that it would. But CBS controls Showtime and 50% of the CW. It makes a lot more sense for either of them.

  19. That’s very true, because where such a series would air is the other part of the equation. CBS really doesn’t have any sister basic cable networks either, whereas Paramount’s owner, Viacom, has a ton of them.

    If only CBS and Viacom had been able to play nice with one another, Trek’s movie and TV divisions might still have been under one roof.

  20. Trek on the CBS TV network itself was out of the question from the get-go. That was never going to happen. Showtime apparently isn’t in the running. As far as the CW, its president (who also happens to be a Trekkie) said in an interview a few months ago that he would have loved to have had a Trek series there, but was told essentially that none is being planned.

    “As a life-long Star Trek fan, I would hope to have Star Trek at The CW…[but] I have hard no discussion about it going out as a TV series at all.”
    –CW President Mark Pedowitz, at the TCA winter press tour

  21. You could have just opened with that quote, you know. It doesn’t change the argument for pursuing a series in due course, there’s a lot of upside and I still don’t doubt executives are quietly mulling how to pursue a new show they can profit from.

  22. I don’t know what you mean by I could have just opened with that quote since it was the first time I really addressed the possibility (or lack thereof) of Trek on the CW. As far as executives quietly mulling over a new Trek series, I think that’s wishful. I think they’re perfectly content with the way things presently are.

  23. Assuming he’s not being deliberately misleading, it actually speaks to the alleged mindset of executives in power rather than just our trading opinions about what they are thinking. Would have saved us a lot of back and forth. We will just agree to disagree about whether anyone at CBS’s development department should be preaching the economic upside to pursuing a new venture and wait and see.

  24. Sisko is a badass that is why he is the best Captain he showed no Mercy to his enemies while Picard wanted to use Diplomacy and talk all the time Sisko used the Difaint and DS9 to Destroy all his enemies Sisko Defeated a possessed Gul Dukat and became a Prophet now he is now linear and Immortal Is Picard No Sisko can travel through time at will can Picard No and Sisko will be around when Picard is six feet under he will grow old and Die Sisko won’t he is eternal.

  25. Yes they are motivated by money so that means that when a new Star Trek series comes out it will be more like these new movies and not what Roddenberry wanted this is a media Franchise as Dusty Ayres already said, they will do what makes money and theae action packed Blockbuster movies make that money so it is only Logical to assume they will make the new series with a new modern flare Action Adventure a little Darker then what we previously seen and lots of Bad guys they don’t care about you they care about money and thank god

  26. Hello Dusty Ayres I just wanted to say I agree with you that the show has to be revived in a different and new way that works for the 21st Century and that the established trekies or the old trek fans are a minority Globally when compared to the average moviegoer and TV watcher so when the new series does come on and my sources tell me that we may get a new series in 2017 but it will have to wait till after the next movie has been DVD Blu Rayed then they will Start to think about a new series and in 2007 when they Started doing the movies there was a contract that stated that while these new movies are on there will be no TV series and there will be 3 movies and a TV series and the third movie will lead into a TV series and when we will get a TV series it will be more like the new movies despite what the old trekies would like they will do what makes them money and these new movies make Money.T This is a media franchise, and it had to be revived in a different and new way that worked for the early 21st century, not just for established fans that are in the minority globally (when compared with the average moviegoer and TV watcher.)his is a media franchise, and it had to be revived in a different and new way that worked for the early 21st century, not just for established fans that are in the minority globally (when compared with the average moviegoer and TV watcher.)This is a media franchise, and it had to be revived in a different and new way that worked for the early 21st century, not just for established fans that are in the minority globally (when compared with the average moviegoer and TV watcher.)

  27. Like I said, he’s an alternate universe version of him, and a bad one at that

  28. No, thank Mammon that it sucks now. If you want to see how real Star Trek looks like, watch the independent production Star Trek Continues.

  29. There’s no reason to assume he’s being deliberately misleading. And the only thing it speaks to is that CBS isn’t pursuing a new Trek series for the foreseeable future. Sure, that could change in the future as things often do, but for right now, there isn’t a new series in the works or any being planned. CBS doesn’t have the need for one right now. There hasn’t been any back and forth because that has been my position from the start.

  30. I think fan films are going to be the norm for scifi. Scifi is pretty much dead on tv. Space based scifi tv shows seem to be a thing of the past right now.

  31. yay it turns out paramount has signed another three Picture deal with the actors of the new movies or 3 more movies that means it will go up to Star Trek 6 ha ha suck on that.

  32. You know what the working title of the upcoming movie is? “Beyond the Jar Jar-verse”.

  33. You are being wrong, and engaging in wordplay that ignores what facts are being conveyed to you by Bass Guitar Hero and myself.

  34. You won’t get one, and nobody’s going to waste money making a cheap Star Trek movie like the ones done with the original series cast. That’s just being unrealistic, and you know it.

  35. And you’re being a dick, ignoring the majority of points that I made and dismissing them as wordplay. It’s condescending and rude and a bizarre place to display such an attitude.

  36. CBS owns Star Trek, and Paramount is the company licensed to make the movies/release the shows and movies on DVD. Paramount can’t make a Star Trek film or TV show on their own without permission from CBS-if it did, it would be sued, have the rights revoked, and CBS would go to another company to distribute the movie (MGM/UA, Disney, 20th Century Fox, Universal, New Line, Warner Bros., or Sony Pictures.) Face it and see reason, it won’t be happening unless Moonves says so.

  37. The ‘points’ make no economic sense for CBS to follow in making a new TV series. If that’s being a dick, I don’t know what else to say.

  38. Gods’ tits, not that cheap. Lower budget. Possibly even under a hundred million. Less worry over potential loss. Maybe even (gasperoonies!) emphasize plot over splodeyboom, or at the very least make the effects actually serve the plot, further it, instead of using them to try and paper over the gaping holes. But you’re right, it’s unrealistic. Today’s Hollywood, like today’s American politics, can only conceive of extremes: teeny-budget indy pics, and balls-out skull-numbing eyeball-gangbangs. Moderation has been out the fucking window for quite a while now.

  39. There was a plot in the movie, or were you too trapped in your little world of (mistaken) nostalgia for what TOS was ‘supposed’ to be (and wanting it to be like TNG? The movie did a 9/11 plot better than Enterprisein the Xindi arc, and in just over two hours vs. the 24 episodes it took to tell the Xindi story. You and everybody else here commenting just don’t like it because it got people other than yourself to see a Star Trek movie and has most likely created new fans. The FX served the plot well, there were no gaping holes, and everything worked out well. What it is with you seems to be an old fogy ‘Get off my lawn you kids!’ vibe and little else.

  40. You’re obviously just reading random words in my posts and assuming I mean something that’s diametrically opposed to something you seem to have an oddly-righteous obsession with. Take a step back and relax, this is a dumb thing to get so antagonistic and snide about.
    All I said was that Paramount controls the movie franchise, and I acknowledged they do this under license from CBS (which used to be Viacom, whereas the current Viacom is a new Viacom made out of parts of the old Viacom, including Paramount). Until their license expires, Paramount can do whatever they want when it comes to making movies. It’s no different than how Fox has carte blanche in how it uses the Fantastic Four and X-Men licenses or Sony exploits Spider-Man – Marvel granted them licenses and if the companies cooperate that’s between them but not compulsory. Paramount and CBS are the same, except that CBS also controls merchandising, so there’s incentive for Paramount to play nice in order to benefit more from all the product tie-ins that come with each new movie. Neither of us is privy to the terms of the licensing agreement, but it’s unlikely that it includes a caveat that CBS must approve every time Paramount makes a new film. It’s far more likely the studio can do what it likes in that department until the license somehow lapses.
    Now, as for the future of the TV franchise, if the argument that CBS has no interest in making new product hinges on their actions with merchandising then we’d be having a differently-colored debate. The relationship between CBS and Viacom is not great and the stuttering merchandising effort that surrounded “Into Darkness” points to that. Rumors have been well-documented that J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot made their best efforts to rebuild the franchise straddling and working with both companies, and that includes a new series and multi-platform opportunities. CBS was allegedly reluctant to jeopardize the money it made from Star Trek memorabilia by supplanting it with reboot merchandise. No one on these comment boards over the last few days has been saying this points to the bigger picture and a mindset that CBS simply doesn’t want to ever make a new show on any of its networks, that’s why the Frakes quote has been picked up in the media. It’s a legitimate point to consider, but it doesn’t definitively speak to what Les Moonves is thinking (and never once did I pretend to think if Moonves did not in fact want to do a new series down the road then that was somehow not the end of that). If we all knew what Sumner Redstone was thinking then that would settle everything.
    Pointing out that Paramount has done shockingly well with the movie reboot and that Bad Robot is an established creative force in movies and television is not unreasonable. Pointing out that this leaves money on the table when it comes to exploiting the part of the franchise CBS actively controls (i.e. not the movies) is also not unreasonable. Speculating on which platforms under CBS’s control would be suitable for airing a new Star Trek show is also not out of line, nor is stating that the moneymaking potential for a new series related to the reboot can easily outstrip the waning fortunes of legacy products that appeal to an aging core fanbase. It does actually make economic sense, eventually CBS needs to fuel growth rather than just let a franchise that earned its previous owners billions stagnate.
    I’ve been acknowledging the pitfalls of the current situation, the risks of doing a space-based sci-fi show even if it is the most established brand, and the advantages and baggage that come with there already being hundreds of hours of Star Trek content and a checkered history when it comes to ratings and pop cultural relevance. I’ve done all of that whilst also pointing out the asterisks to balance out the argument and judge how an opposing view could still overpower the handicaps. If that’s not seeing reason then so be it.

  41. The expense isn’t insurmountable. Effects have gotten more affordable than they were when Trek was on the air. Even SyFy’s introducing a new space opera (“The Expanse”), and if it’s at all like the books, it’s going to have to be SFX-heavy.

  42. No offense to Mr. Frakes (I’m sure his idea was interesting and I’d like to know what it was), but CBS passing on his idea doesn’t mean they’re not interested in bringing Trek back to TV. For all we know, “diluting the brand” is just what they told him because they thought it was nicer than saying “we won’t consider any new Trek from anyone who was involved with it during the Berman days.” We really don’t know.

  43. For CBS executives who have to pay for the costs of s show airing on a network that has to gain high ratings, it is not going to be cheap, thus, they won’t be producing it. This is not that same as when Paramount Pictures was making Star Trek shows from 1987-2005, this is CBS being expected to make this show in 2015-future and the cost of producing what will be a niche show with niche audiences and niche ratings is not worth the risk of doing so.

    As well, CBS isn’t a service for Star Trek fans, but a network that has to provide entertainment for all people, and Star Trek fans aren’t that important or numerous enough for there to be a Star Trek show. It’s time for people to see reality and deal with it as well, and not be insisting that a network has to automatically produce a Star Trek show ‘just because’. Watch the other sci-fi shows if you need a fix.

  44. I have no idea whose arguments you’re rebutting, but they’re not mine. I don’t care if CBS produces a Star Trek show. I have plenty of TV to watch without Trek. I hardly miss it (because I’ve got hundreds of hours of reruns at my fingertips whenever I feel like watching it). I’m just saying you’re wrong about the expense. It’s LESS expensive to create special effects today than it was during the 1987-2005 run of Berman Trek.

    I think you’re also wrong about the “niche” aspect of the show, for this reason: it’s not 2005 anymore. Very few shows garner more than a few million viewers. The bar’s been lowered. You can see the result of this in the sheer number of niche shows on the air. “Flash” and “Arrow” are niche shows, and Flash has quite a bit of special effects. “The Expanse,” which I mentioned (and which you ignored) is definitely going to be niche. That’s got heavy special effects. And furthermore, even if CBS produces it, they don’t have to air it on the CBS network. They can air it on CW, or sell it to a cable network like SyFy which just might help fund it.

    Expense of special effects is not a major issue anymore. It being “niche” is not a major issue anymore. It’s much more likely that they just haven’t heard any truly compelling pitches yet.

  45. For CBS, Star Trek is a niche of a niche, and they don’t want to invest in a program that will cater to a niche (audience) of a (to them) niche franchise. It’s as simple as that.

  46. Bad to you and people like you stuck in the past, not to millions of moviegoers worldwide. get a grip, and get real-Chris Pine is officially Captain Kirk, even if you are so silly not to accept it.

  47. When are you going to listen to the reasoned (and based in reality) argument put forth by Bass Guitar Hero and stop being an obdurate fool?

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