Paramount Network is changing its format to feature movies and mini-series, a perfect place for new Star Trek films to debut.
Paramount Network will be changing its name to Paramount Movie Network in the near future and will begin featuring original movies. According to Variety, the movies will have modest budgets and will feature one new film per week. So how does Star Trek fit into this?
"The current plan is to program 52 original movies per year on the network, or one movie per week. Each movie will have a budget in the low-to-mid-seven-figure range. Once per quarter, the network expects to program a miniseries or scripted series on the scale of its hit drama “Yellowstone,” potentially spinning off characters from those projects into their own films or sequels in the future."
Well, the Star Trek films have been a brand that’s been in flux for a while. No new movies are in the works and there are rumors as to what will happen next. With the global pandemic seriously hindering movies being released in theaters and the rise of streaming platforms making it more convenient to avoid large, annoying groups of moviegoers, more and more studios are thinking about streaming their films.
The problem is, ViacomCBS has CBS All Access, and despite an upcoming rebranding, the service has been slow to catch on, costing CBS a lot of money. The idea that ViacomCBS is going to continue to load up on exclusive content for the service when it has other money-making avenues already developed doesn’t make sense.
So if you’re a major outfit like ViacomCBS, who owns all things Paramount (including the film side of things), and you have a film series that can’t get off the ground, a digital streaming service that has staggered in getting subscriptions and a network now geared towards movies; what would you do?
Start putting out made-for-TV Star Trek films.
With so much upheaval about what is next in the Star Trek film universe, moving Trek properties to Paramount Movie Network may just be the play to make. Most Trek films are just longer episodes and a bigger budget already and with so many storytelling opportunities you can really go off and take risks.
It wouldn’t be ideal for some fans, as the budgets would get slashed deeply and would probably see the end of the Kelvin Timeline, but it’s certainly an exciting idea. It’s also possible that the soon to be named Paramount+ (CBS All Access) will see it’s catalog diversified across several outlets. The airing of the first season of Star Trek: Discovery on CBS may be a way to test to see if a series could be sustainable on network television. If it works, then you may see Star Trek on CBS, Nickelodeon, Paramount Movie Network, Paramount+, and even in theaters still.
Paramount first launched as TNN in the early days of cable. TNN started courting the young male demo and brought in products like the WWE, UFC, and IMPACT Wrestling (then called TNA) in the early 2000s. They had shows like 1,000 Ways to Die, Deadliest Warrior, and Blue Mountain State; all content geared towards men.
Then the shift to unscripted content happened, and Spike became less about shows for men and more family-centric entertainment with a skew to the female demographics. This after they lost the UFC and let IMPACT walk. During this time they brought in Bellator MMA and it became ratings hit for them, even after the change to the Paramount Network.
Bellator will go off to CBS Sports Network at the end of the month, with other successful shows like Bar Rescue and Lip Sync Battle ending up on other ViacomCBS networks like VH1, CMT, or Pop. Other shows like Wife Swap and Ink Masters have been canceled.
Their current hit, Yellowstone, will continue to air on Paramount Movie Network.