Star Trek: Discovery bombs in CBS debut, finishing last in ratings for the network on the night.
Star Trek has not been the hitmaker that so many thought it would or could be. All three series have been panned by fans and critics to some degree, to the point that the next iteration – Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – will change the format completely on how CBS tells Trek stories. A more classic show, with known, likable characters, is set to become the flagship show of the franchise. That’s then, currently, Star Trek has not done well at all. It’s streaming home, CBS All Access, has failed to generate any real interest in its service with only ten million currently on the platform.
NBC’s Peacock and ABC’s Disney+ have all done better than All Access and at a faster rate. Star Trek is just not bringing fans in, which is really the only true hook the platform has. Some scream endlessly that it’s because the show is behind a paywall and that they won’t pay to watch it. Fair enough, CBS is airing Star Trek: Discovery’s first season on its airwaves, and guess what? Even free, people don’t want to watch it.
The premiere episode on CBS drew a whoppingly bad 0.2 rating in the key 18-49 demo and had esmited1.7 million people watching the show. Some will argue that fans already saw it, and to which I say “both arguments can’t be true.” Either people won’t watch it behind a paywall or people will. It can’t be both and this rating proves that.
The truth is, Discovery wasn’t engaging with viewers from the jump and the rollout of new Star Trek on All Access made many feel like the show’s a ploy for subscriptions and not that it’s been made for fans. Sure, every show is made for a profit, but this show felt like it was intentionally designed to cater to everyone but Star Trek faithful.
So now the show has failed on streaming services and network television, and with ratings only going to go lower as the series airs, then it’s very possible this show isn’t averaging a million viewers by the time the season finale hits.
On top of that, you have disjointed news regarding ViacomCBS’s movie arm, Paramount, and the future of Star Trek films and it’s clear that the Trek universe and the future of the franchise is very much in trouble. Sure, things may change with the redesign of All Access into Paramount+ but that will surely bring in new fans of other Viacom properties, not necessarily new fans of Star Trek in.
It might be time to clear the board and try again.