CBS Original Content Chief Julie McNamara Talks All Access Trek

Talking to “The Wrap”, Executive Vice President of Original Content Julie McNamara talks about the new Star Trek shows due to hit CBS All Access over the next 12 months and beyond.

Star Trek: Discovery was announced back in 2015 and intended to launch on CBS All Access back in Jan 2017, however, due to the persistent drama behind the scenes together with numerous showrunner changes, most notably the departure of joint show creator Bryan Fuller, this led to the unfortunate delay of season one until late 2017, almost a full two years after the original announcement and a full 9 months later than planned.

Even though after that long delay when it finally hit CBS All Access it was a success, it does, however, beg the question of how many shows can All Access pull off before the fans get tired of Trek? 

With Discovery in its sophomore year (with the hint of season 3), the new still untitled ‘Picard’ show, the animated “The Lower Decks”, the recently announced new Section 31 series featuring Michelle Yeoh, a potential new child friendly Animated show and more Short Treks all in the works, is this just too much and is Star Trek heading for burn out yet again.

In the interview, McNamara makes it clear that they are not going to repeat the past mistakes of franchise fatigue which led to the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise after its fourth year and the shelving of the follow up the 2002 film Star Trek Nemesis.

“There’s no benefit to just pushing out into the marketplace tons of ‘Star Trek content. That’s not our intention,”

“We’re looking to mine it wisely and effectively.”

Making it clear, although, Trek is going to be a big part of All Access it is not the only thing they want to establish on the platform, she added:

“It really is important that we’re out there establishing a full-fledged premium service and really add a lot of things that aren’t ‘Star Trek’ as well,”
(For example “The Twilight Zone” reboot that is in development)

Moving back to Star Trek, McNamara talks more about the new shows:

“In an ideal world, ‘Star Trek’ fans would be interested in great ‘Star Trek’ shows that could be a variety of talent and subject matter,”

“They have to real right, and the timing has to feel right.”

Patrick Stewart STLV 2018

When talking about when we can expect the new shows, McNamara points out that the Picard series is most likely to premiere at the end of 2019, the Section 31 series led by Yeoh is just in development as of now, she’s still expected to be a major part of “Discovery” during season 2 adding that the season won’t necessarily serve as a back-door pilot for Yeoh’s standalone show:

“Lower Decks” won’t air soon, either: the animation alone will take a year.

Touching further upon the issue of too much Trek, she adds:

“Some of these can be considered as replacements as opposed to additions,”

“When I look at how the schedule is theoretically laying out on my desk, it does not feel like it’s one after another,”

Adding that by the time the Yeoh-led series premieres, “Discovery” may be over.

This does not mean that Discovery will end anytime soon, taking into account many factors like the delays on season one, the 15 months it has taken for Season 2 to premiere and the recent hint from showrunner Kurtzman that Discovery could run a long time, it makes sense that all the shows that are currently in development will no doubt take time to hit our screens given the extensive pre-production any Star Trek series needs before it can air, and that is even without any unexpected delays such as scheduling conflicts with key stars like Yeoh.

Hinting at the very same thing McNamara said:

“These ‘Trek’ shows take a lot of incubation because they’re very prep heavy, visual effects heavy… we’re seeing it more as we’re getting a good jump on making sure that there is a good fulsome stream of ‘Trek’ material.”

Although she is the VP of Original Content, it doesn’t sound like she has any worries at all about it as she is confident that their impressive “Star Trek” plan is in good hands under Alex Kurtzman, He is the “Discovery” showrunner and supervises CBS All Access’s entire “Trek” expansion.

Star Trek Discovery Season 2 airs on CBS All Access (USA), Space (Canada) Thurdays And Fridays on Netflix (Rest of the World)