When CBS announced a new Star Trek TV series earlier this week, fans were overjoyed. Overjoyed - but confused by the network's decision to air the series only on its CBS All Access streaming service rather than on the network itself. Now, CBS president Leslie Moonves has shed some light on the network's decision.
"A lot of conversation went into what we were going to do [with Star Trek]. All Access is very important," Moonves told reporters during CBS's third quarter earnings call (via The Hollywood Reporter). "Star Trek is a family jewel; it's an important piece of business for us as we go forward."
Moonves explained that the choice to air the series on All Access was driven by the desire to boost the use of the service, citing the loyalty of Star Trek fans as a driving force in getting them to try All Access.
"We're looking to do original content on All Access and build up that platform. Netflix is our friend, a competitor. They compete with [CBS Corp.'s] Showtime. All Access will put out original content and knowing the loyalty of Star Trek fans, this will boost it. … There's about a billion channels out there and because of Star Trek, people will know what All Access is about."
"All the series have done well in terms of streaming," said Moonves, referring to the success of other Star Trek series on CBS All Access. "Added in to that, Star Trek is a huge international franchise. Our international distribution guy is going crazy; he can't wait to get out to the marketplace and sell that. Right away, we're more than halfway home on the cost of the show from international alone. The risk is small in seeing the track record. We think it'll be great and bring in a lot more subscribers. We're really excited about it."
Moonves closed out the call by saying that the new series would be a "world class effort," also calling Star Trek fans "the most passionate fans in the world," and anticipating "millions" of new subscribers to CBS All Access.
The new Star Trek series will debut in January 2017.