It’s been confirmed today that the two worlds of Star Trek are to come one with the merger of CBS & Viacom.

CBS owns the television right to Star Trek and Paramount, owned by Viacom, own the film rights. There were some confusing and bizarre rules about what each could do. This was part of the reason JJ Abrams created the alternate timeline for the most recent three films. These had Chris Pine as Kirk and Zachary Quinto as Spock.

The situation even affected the CBS streaming Star Trek: Discovery series when the original Enterprise appeared. The rule seemed to be 25% had to be different.

Star Trek Beyond - Chris Pine
Star Trek Beyond – Chris (Chris Pine) © 2016 Paramount Pictures

Star Trek films hit buffers

At Paramount the Star Trek film plans recently hit the buffers. JJ Abrams & co had planned to make them much more ‘blockbuster’. More action and with a larger budget. They had secured the likes of Chris Pine on promises that over time they would be paid more. However, plans did not go as expected.

The films did well but not well enough to cover the big budget. This resulted in what would have been their fourth film being shelved. This was partly because, understandably, Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth did not want to take less than their agreement.

Star Trek streaming

Meanwhile, CBS has been building up their streaming service. This seems to have been mainly based on the big draw of Star Trek. So far we have had two seasons of Star Trek: Discovery. There are also plan a Star Trek: Picard series & other Star Trek spin-offs. The idea is to have some new Star Trek all year round.

Star Trek: Picard - Patrick Stewart and Isa Briones
Star Trek: Picard – Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard; Isa Briones as Dahj ©2019 CBS Interactive, photo by Matt Kennedy

Viacom’s owner Summer Redstone

I first came across Viacom’s owner Summer Redstone at a Las Vegas event to unveil a Star Trek themed Hotel Casino. It was Jonathan Frakes that pointed him out to me. He called him “Mr Money”! Summer was pretty old then.

In 2006 he separated CBS & Viacom. Over the last three years, his daughter, Shari Redstone has pushed for the companies to merge. Today she has managed to reverse the separation and been appointed chairwoman of the board.

ViacomCBS Inc will be the name of the combined companies. It will include CBS’ broadcast network, the streaming service CBS All Access, and movie studio Paramount. Plus there will be cable networks like Showtime, MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, and Comedy Central!

The basic thinking is to merge Viacom’s streaming service Pluto with CBS’s All Access. They hope it will quickly move up the ranks and challenge the big boys, namely Disney, Comcast, AT&T, and… Netflix!

Shari said in an official statement today:- “My father once said ‘content is king,’ and never has that been more true than today.”

Maybe this might provide a way for some new Star Trek films?

Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 - USS Enterprise NCC-1701
Star Trek: Discovery Season 2 – USS Enterprise NCC-1701 © 2018 CBS Interactive. photos by James Dim-mock