Big Budget mini-series - 10 Episodes & $150 Million dollars

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Flake, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. Flake

    Flake Commodore Commodore

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    Quality please, not quantity! If they MUST put Trek back on television then this is the only way I would want it. No more 26 episodes a year.

    I'd like a 10 episode mini-series with a budget of $150 million on HBO or something.

    Not sure what it could be about but perhaps one of the following:


    • Rebooted TNG featuring new takes on the best of old Trek.
    • Romulan War Saga using aborted Erik Jendresen Trek 11 script.
    • Outer Limits style capsule episodes spanning a thousand years of Trek history.
    • Saga about Picard from a kid to just before commanding the Enterprise. Starring Tom Hardy! (If he dares do Trek again)
    • Dominion War epic focusing on a particular crew/ship on the frontline.

    and finally:


    • The adventures of Lwaxana Troi?

    More suggestions are welcome.
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    HBO wouldn't touch Star Trek. It's too mainstream. HBO's brand is that it's "not TV" and Star Trek is definitely associated with mainstream TV. HBO does have some sci fi shows in the works but they are much more in line with the unique, artsy, high-end programming that its audience demands in return for their subscription fee - Humanitas, which is about futuristic medicine, and The World Inside, a grim scenario of overpopulation. Same goes for Showtime, if they ever did sci fi - I haven't heard of any plans.

    But a short-run series on broadcast TV or basic cable might work. NBC or Fox for broadcast; AMC or Skiffy for cable. It would have to be like BSG or V, a back-end to a full series to amortize the production costs. Scrapping the whole thing after 10 or 15 episodes doesn't sound like a viable business proposition to me. But it's a moot point; if the series took off in the ratings, it would get more episode orders, and if the ratings tank, it wouldn't matter what the original plans were.

    CBS owns the rights to Star Trek on TV but that doesn't require them to air it if it makes no sense, and CBS is entirely the wrong demographic. But the trend in TV today is for networks to air only what they make, so figuring out what Star Trek's natural home is, is a tricky thing.

    The business end of getting Star Trek back on TV is far more open to questions than its content, which is obvious. The only reason anyone would be interested in putting Star Trek on TV would be to capitalize on the success of the movies, so the show would be in the Abramsverse, in the 23rd C, would not stray far from the Starfleet-going-boldly template, and would bring in the movie actors for cameos at least (I doubt they could get them to do more).

    Since the timeline doesn't require the cast to stay on the Enterprise, you could see someone like John Cho's Sulu as a regular on the show (assuming FlashForward's ratings don't hold up.)
     
  3. jefferiestubes8

    jefferiestubes8 Commodore Premium Member

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    Flake I've thought of the miniseries idea this year and TrekBBS members have schooled me and I've learned a lot about the TV and movie franchise this year.
    1. miniseries & big budget never go together with a scifi genre.
    2. like TEMIS says HBO would not WANT Trek on HBO.
    3. US network TV does 22-24 episodic TV.
    US cable shows generally do 12-13 episodes/season. (Showtime, HBO, TNT, AMC)
    The cost to do a Trek 3 episode 6 hour miniseries would be very costly and that would be IF they get greenlit for a series they could remove from storage and use the sets and then use the wardrobe designs to make more costumes and make costumes for the season.
    Trek deals have been made in the past with post production facilities on making 22 episodes/year. If they would only make 12 episodes that is a lot less work guaranteed to the post houses so the price would go up.
    It's been said ENT cost $1.6 million/episode. I would think that is after the initial cost of the Trek sets (Bridge/Engineering/SickBay).
    so 22 episodes are under $36 million (minus the above 3 sets).
    Why the heck would CBS produce it for 150 million much less make only 13 episodes for $36 million?

    Because the Trek franchise is so massive a Trek prinicple actor would sign a multi-year exclusive contract.
     
  4. Flake

    Flake Commodore Commodore

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    CBS/Paramount could come together and make it an 'event'. Lavishing that amount of money on something is extremely rare for TV and I suggest it only because I would prefer Trek to be something special nowadays rather than just another Stargate-clone.

    I am in the UK and know nothing about HBO apart from it spends a lot of money sometimes on programming. If its not the place for Trek then so be it. CBS/Paramount could make it and show it on Scifi for all I care, the big money would be on Blu-Ray & DVD afterwards.

    I am also making the assumption that the writers of the mini-series are capable of delivering something on the level of Band of Brothers which is regarded as some of the best TV ever. I would settle for nothing less at this point, if they do something ordinary and half-assed like the days of old on a channel like The CW then I absolutley don't want it. I would be more than satisfied with a movie every three years and thats it.
     
  5. Flake

    Flake Commodore Commodore

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    Massive ratings and subsequent home-video revenue?

    Imagine if Peter Jacksons Lord of the Rings was made for TV but the production values/budget remained the same. Would this not get some huge ratings and massive home video?
     
  6. Flake

    Flake Commodore Commodore

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    I don't want Trek on TV ideally as it would dilute the movies success and steal Trek XIIs thunder! The only tv that can exist with the new movie franchise would be a kids TV show because thats mostly off the radar for everyone except kids.

    But but but... but..... all I am saying is if some exec high on up in CBS or whereever wants Trek on TV again I only want the very best :)
     
  7. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Why spend 150 when you can spend 36? And you are drastically overestimating what commercial and DVD revenue would be. Last years Superbowl brought in $206 million. That's the 4 highest rated hours on TV in the US with 100 million viewers. If a Star Trek mini got 25 million viewers CBS would be ecstatic. There were only about 33 million tickets sold for Star Trek and a bunch of those were repeat buyers. A Star Trek mini would make $50 million tops from commercials. Now even if Star Trek would get LOTR like DVD revenue that brings total revenue to $150 million. And that is extreme best case.

    If you expect CBS to spend $150 million you better project to make at least $300 million. Probably more. $36 million is probably the max you could get CBS to spend for a limited event Star Trek programming.
     
  8. bigdaddy

    bigdaddy Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For $150 million they can make a great season of 26 episodes (which is so 90s anyways). It's the writing, not the budget. Enterprise looked fantastic and was still shit on a ship.
     
  9. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    and Flakes idea is the best in that scenerio..I too LOATH any attempt at a new show, but this MINI SERIES idea I would back but ONLY if JJABRAMS ran it...no one else..and no stars from the movie series...

    Rob
     
  10. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    You'll have to cut that budget figure at least in half, for starts, if you ever want to see such a thing on the air.
     
  11. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    CBS wouldn't lavish anything on Star Trek because it's a bad fit for their lineup. CBS is the healthiest of the broadcast networks by a long ways, and they've accomplished that by sticking to their knitting: cop shows for old folks. They may have poor demos, too many people outside the 18-49 age group, but they make up for it with large audiences.

    Sci fi is exactly the opposite: smaller audiences but the saving grace is (sometimes) good demos. Even a very popular Star Trek series wouldn't be able to compete with the standards for ratings success that is demanded on CBS. What would pass for a hit on NBC would be a failure on CBS.

    CBS might produce Star Trek and make some kind of financial arrangement for it to be aired somewhere else that makes sense. If it's Skiffy, that will require the budget be driven way down. In fact, that would be required wherever it airs. The decision where it should air would be made before the budget was determined, so they aren't producing something more expensive than it's worth to air.

    Another big question: Why should anyone at CBS spend two seconds thinking about Star Trek when they can just spin off another CSI series and be far more guaranteed that it will pay off? These people have their careers to consider and nobody wants to put their neck on the line for some zany sci fi show that might not pay off, and wouldn't be CBS's baby in any case (since it wouldn't air on CBS), so championing Star Trek isn't the best career move for a CBS honcho.

    You can figure out the HBO philosophy by looking at what they produce - hard-hitting original dramas that seem more like "serious" movies than TV shows, and are rarely if ever derived somebody else's franchise. Originality and snob appeal are important to HBO. They want to produce TV shows that rich folks in Manhattan will talk about at cocktail parties.

    If it's shown on Sci Fi, then the budget would have to be far smaller than what you suggest, and I doubt Blu-Ray and DVD sales could make up the difference. Good old fashioned Neilsens-monitored ads are still by far the most important factor in the TV biz.

    That sounds like a pricey production that wouldn't pay off nearly as well as CSI: Paducah.

    Huh? Where are you getting that idea? Star Trek on TV would be attractive to the prime 18-49 audience. The questions are, whether you can get enough people to watch the show (and not download or DVR it, which do still count for ad views but not as much as if it's watched live), and which of the options for airing it are the least bad (because none are ideal)?

    8 million would be terrific. I wouldn't count on that, though. 5 million maybe. Pray for real good demos and drive the budget way, way down.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  12. GhostFaceSaint

    GhostFaceSaint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It wouldn't really be on HBO anyway because CBS owns Showtime I believe (and right now Showtimes networks collective ratings are beating out HBO's a network that has made bad decisions as of late), the producers at CBS are cautiously watching Star Trek's current movie success and future film productions to see if they will be successful and if they are then why wouldn't they follow through with a new series like one producer has said if XII and XIII are successful?

    Weather its a regular show on CBS or a miniseries on Showtime (like the "Tudor's"), another Star Trek TV series if executed correctly could succeed where the last failed. Good TV sells itself and the last series was terrible TV, "The Next Generation" was good TV and was very successful and why shouldn't a new show be just as much?
     
  13. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Ooooh fanmous last words. :wtf:
    But DS9 was far better yet the overall trend in ratings from TNG thru ENT was down down down. And ENT's S4 was a big improvement yet there was no improvement in ratings. Quality doesn't correlate to ratings, for Star Trek or for much of anything else I've noticed.

    The economics of TV has changed so utterly since the heydey of TNG that you can't draw any lessons from that. TV has balkanized, with half of the network audience now being lured away to cable, resulting in lower ratings for everyone, with the only outliers being the most mass-appeal types of shows like CSI and American Idol. Sci fi will never be mass-appeal like that.

    The financial basis for TV shows has fragmented all over the place, with Nielsens still being by far the most important factor, but subscriptions (both for premium and, to a lesser extent, for basic cable), DVD sales, paid downloads, downloads with ads, international revenues and product placements to offset production costs are all a jumbled part of the mix now, and the mix keeps changing. Trying to make a financially successful TV show is an even more complicated and uncertain thing than it's ever been.
     
  14. GhostFaceSaint

    GhostFaceSaint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    DS9 was competing with Babylon 5 for the same viewers so it was understandable that its ratings was beginning to suffer. Voyager was mediocre at best its writing was so-so, the acting could have been much better, and it fell into a trap of tech driven episodes and technology makes for good short stories but not for hour long episodic ones so Voyager got very boring. Enterprise was terrible show with no chemistry between the actors, mediocre acting, bad scripts, boring story arcs, super obvious messages and insulting preaching, and a lot of filler episodes, my non Trek loving friends always point to Enterprise as why they don't like Trek and I understand their complaints.

    Star Trek after TNG was terrible and although I think DS9 was an exception it suffered from having to compete with the other sci-fi space station TV series, so stop pointing to the Berman era as why Star Trek can't work because Berman was a terrible exec and producer he did a lot of damage to Star Trek's image.

    I will acknowledge that you are right about todays TV being a different creature now with more channels on cable and the internet also competing for viewers, however, I still believe that Star Trek could, if it executed correctly in an exciting way, get good ratings and stay on the air successfully. A well written well executed, in other words, well performed and portrayed show will always do better than the poor one.
     
  15. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    False. Just look at NBC from '05, '06. Especially shows like Friday Night Lights. Well written, well produced, well acted shows will still struggle against basic mass market shows.

    Star Trek could be the most critically acclaimed show on TV and it would still not get the ratings of CSI, American Idol, or Dancing with the Stars.
     
  16. GhostFaceSaint

    GhostFaceSaint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Hmm, point taken, but if the show is well made it does increase its chances for success.
     
  17. RobertScorpio

    RobertScorpio Pariah

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    I agree with the above comment..it doesn't matter how good it is..the timeslot means more than anything else.

    And, we as fans, cant even agree what 'good' TREK is. So...again...i say no to ANY new show. A once a year two hour tv movie? Yeah, i could get behind that...but a new series? That would be the dummest thing they could do...

    Rob
     
  18. Sabataage

    Sabataage Commander Red Shirt

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    While I've heard the dollar incentive isn't what it used to be, they should take the production to Australia. Use Jim Henson Studios for the sets and alien creatures (ala Farscape, and more recentely Where The Wild Things Are)and New Zealand's Weta Digital for space ships and planets. The main vessel is an old but sturdy warship with one minor design flaw that the newer models don't have. The Universal Translator gives everyone an aussie accent.

    But seriously, I do like that idea, especially limiting the show to ten episodes. I think what killed the Re-Imagined BSG was the episode order (especially in season 3). They ran out of money early for big effects sequences and then ran out of plotlines too. So the entire series just spun its wheels ten episodes until like five minutes begfore the end of the season finale.
     
  19. AviTrek

    AviTrek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Green Lantern is being pulled from Australia because of the rising Aussie dollar against the US dollar. I don't think we'll be seeing too many big budget Hollywood productions in Australia until the US dollar gains or Australia offers extra tax breaks to bring the costs back down.
     
  20. Bluesteel

    Bluesteel Commander Red Shirt

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    Mate whats wrong with Stargate? It's a succesful franchise that is on air at the moment. Unlike Trek. It's the longest running SCI-FI after X-files. I think to be honest the next Trek show should pack up and move somewhere cheaper to film all though they should stay out of the Vancouver Forests.

    The days of expecting Trek to be a big money printers are dead. If we want to see a Trek product not based on the Abrams raped Universe we have to accept reality. There is no way you can get 20 million people to watch Trek. It's not the 80s/early 90s anymore.