iCarly is a hit for Paramount+ and could be a problem for Star Trek.
In 2019, Viacom and CBS merged to form ViacomCBS, combining the CBS properties with properties from Nickelodeon, Paramount Network (aka Spike TV), Comedy Central, and other outlets. This was a move done to strengthen the streaming services of CBS, which ended up resulting in Paramount+, the replacement service for CBS All-Access, which was a mitigated disaster. This meant that Star Trek wouldn’t be the only major property on the new streaming service once things like SpongeBob came on board. Yet, it’s not Star Trek or Sponge Bob that’s drawing in subscribers; it’s the iCarly revival.
Nickelodeon president and CEO Brian Robbins spoke to the Hollywood Reporter recently and revealed that iCarly is the most successful, or at the very least one of the most successful shows on Paramount+.
"The demand for the new show was at such a fever pitch by the time [the new show] launched that it propelled iCarly to be, if not the most successful show on Paramount+, one of the most successful shows.”"
iCarly achieved this by building up its fanbase on other streaming services before moving over to Paramount+ with the revival. iCarly will soon be exclusive to the service going forward.
Why this could be bad news for Star Trek on Paramount+
Sitcoms like iCarly are insanely easy and cheap to create compared to shows like Star Trek or Game of Thrones. It’s one of the reasons why so many cable channels still create sticoms and buy their broadcast rights after they enter syndication. They are a low-cost, high-reward vehicle.
For the price of Star Trek: Discovery’s first season, iCarly could probably have eight or nine seasons worth of episodes, equaling out to the same runtime as Discovery. With 13 episodes scheduled for the first season of the iCarly revival, they’ll probably spend a fraction of what the modern-day Star Trek series has for a budget.
Since Trek was given such a high budget to try to entice people to buy the CBS All-Access in the first place, if ViacomCBS sees that Paramount+ is attracting people to their service with less-expensive shows, then they will end this line of Star Trek series and seek to retool them into something more affordable.
It just doesn’t seem possible to cut the budget significantly on Discovery and it to still be made. This could be why so many of the series are filming back to back, in what could be a major cost-cutting maneuver.