David Foster Preparing to Pitch New ‘Star Trek’ Series

Discussion in 'Future of Trek' started by Chindogu, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. CaptainDonovin

    CaptainDonovin Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Location:
    Labrador City. woof
  2. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2001
    Does it?

    I guess he'll have to be satisfied with understanding the business basics better than anyone who took this seriously for an instant.
     
  3. voodoowoman

    voodoowoman Commander Red Shirt

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    USA
    There's something you're forgetting. The major networks are hurting. Their TV lineups are weak and they are not doing well financially. TV has been crap for so long now that may be this idea would actually seem attractive. I fail to see why "this is not the right time." What IS the right time? I am not talking about this particular premise, but about some kind of decent TV programming. Here is what I flip though on a daily basis with my remote
    1. More Kim Kardashian
    2. Hillbilly Hand fishin'
    3. Day long reruns of Frasier
    4. Move channel reruns of The Godfather
    4. Iron Chef
    5. Let's put you in a sexy wedding dress
    6. You are ugly, lets fix your teeth and get you some decent clothes.

    Given all the "talent" that is creating this, I think Mr. Foster's idea is wonderful.
     
  4. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    So is some fan-fiction, but that doesn't mean it will ever be produced as a television series.
     
  5. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    I'm well aware of that, but CBS is the network in question here, and CBS is doing better than its competition. And it's the least creative. It does cop shows, bland sitcoms, and reality TV, and is rewarded with huge ratings.

    NBC and ABC, being desperate, are rolling the dice this fall with cable-ish series that take a bit of risk: Pan Am, Playboy Club, Grimm, Once Upon a Time. FOX is not quite as desperate, but they've got a big-risk show in Terra Nova and again at midseason with Alcatraz. (I suppose Browncoats must now forgive FOX because they seem to be the last bastion of sci fi on broadcast.)

    The riskiest thing from CBS is Persons of Interest, which is a slight iteration of the cop show formula in that the moral superiority of the protagonists is not assumed. That's their idea of a risk. (And I bet it will be a monster hit for them, too, while I wouldn't be surprised if every other show I've mentioned gets cancelled by the end of the season.)

    So the moral of this story is, being uncreative = PROFIT! (I think that's one of the Rules of Acquisition, one of the high numbers).

    Space opera is too creative even for cable, nevermind desperate broadcast channels like ABC and NBC, nevernevermind not-desperate-at-all CBS. There are no space operas on TV. If anyone is going to take a risk, it's not going to be CBS. If any risks are going to be taken, it's not going to be space opera. The CBS = space opera formulation is just about as likely as Michael Moore becoming a commentator on Fox News.

    Unless Steven Spielberg or JJ Abrams pitch a space opera show. Then, it could happen overnight.

    Timing has nothing to do with it. It's not going to become the right time in the future because the trends that are pushing space opera out of TV will continue, not stop and certainly not reverse.

    The only way it will happen is if some big, interruptive factor occurs that overwhelms the importance of the trends. That factor will have to be named "Steven Spielberg," "JJ Abrams" or someone of that ilk.
     
  6. Quinton O'Connor

    Quinton O'Connor Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    *bursts into laughter*
     
  7. bismarck_1892

    bismarck_1892 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    I don't think the movie attracted any new fans. Lets be honest here. Just because people went to see it does not mean that they suddenly became fans. Just because I go to see a Star Wars movie doesn't make me a Star Wars fan, etc...
     
  8. bismarck_1892

    bismarck_1892 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    You're definition of fan is not only liberal it is simply incorrect.
     
  9. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    The movie attracted people willing to pay $10 or $12 to see it. Maybe that's not a "fan" but if so, the definition of "fan" is immaterial. "Paying customer" - now that's very material.
     
  10. bismarck_1892

    bismarck_1892 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    That's not the point. The argument was whether JJ Trek is keeping Star Trek going by attracting a new generation of fans. Those who state that it is so doing point to the movie's success. Others who are say no way, are making a point that just because people went and saw it does not make them a fan. As such, long term success of the franchise may lay in a TV series with a hopefully steady and devoted viewership, i.e., fans.
     
  11. El Capitan

    El Capitan Ensign Newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2011
    You know "time is right" can be relative term in star trek community. There are Singers and Fosters versions of series but its all for nothing unless Paramount and CBS see profit opportunity. If new Star Trek series is to be made it is up to us. a Star Trek community need to show them that demand for new Star Trek series is reached critical point and i personally feel that it is.
     
  12. Quinton O'Connor

    Quinton O'Connor Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    I know six people IRL who would dispute that with you -- six of the seven people locally here who I knew had never seen (or really given a fair shake) Trek and then saw the new flick. Those six went on and started checking out the older stuff and five of them have Netflix subscriptions and are currently watching either TNG or DS9. One of them is watching TOS, I think. Can't remember what she's up to.

    And then on GameFAQs, my most frequent e-haunt? Kiddin' me? There are several threads right now whose creators are considering merging because they're all the same thing -- I watched the new movie, loved it and now I'm watching the whole thing. (And loving it.)

    I realize a place like GameFAQs is already going to attract specific clientele -- many of whom definitely don't represent the overwhelming majority in any way. But y'know, I still have those local friends. And some of them are very much 'normal' as perceived by current society -- straight down to American Idol on Thursdays. (Or... whenever.)

    I'm seeing it a lot. I'm not so arrogant as to declare that there's no way, shape or form this isn't just a fluke and I'm seeing it more than most people. But there's my argument -- I'm seeing it.
     
  13. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    We're not saying that new fans weren't attracted by the movie.

    We're just saying that the number of new fans as a result of the movie is, in all likelihood, greatly exaggerated.
     
  14. Quinton O'Connor

    Quinton O'Connor Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Durham, NC
    Alright. Well I certainly wouldn't say it's a huge number -- a lot of them certainly saw the film, anticipate a follow-up and went on with their lives, yes.
     
  15. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    What does "fans" mean? People who will watch the next movie? That's going to be determined by the same thing as the last movie - how convincing the marketing campaign is (determines opening weekend), plus word of mouth (determines whether the movie has legs). In other words, the same two factors that drive box office for every movie. And box office can be determined down to the last penny.

    Other than that definition, "fans" is meaningless. The only thing Paramount cares about is how their fandom translates into cash, and that is always measurable. Any kind of "fandom" that can't be measured is irrelevant.

    Abrams is keeping Star Trek going by inducing people to give their money to Paramount. You can argue about whether these people are by definition "fans," but that argument is irrelevant to anything that is going to happen in the real world.

    Why do you think the rules for success is different for TV vs movies? A Star Trek TV series will succeed or fail by inducing a certain number of Nielsen box owners to watch it. Whether they're watching it because they're "fans" (whatever that means) or just find it soothing background while they're chatting on the phone, is irrelevant. If the series meets CBS's goals for it in terms of ratings and attracting the demographic that the advertisers want, it will continue. If not, it will be cancelled.

    In the TV world, "fans" are even less relevant than in the movie biz. With movies, everyone counts. With TV, only a subset of those participating count. First off, you need to be a Nielsens household. And then you need to be in the demographic that is being sold to the advertisers.

    Here's a bizarre (but not impossible) thought experiment to illustrate. Let's say the CW decides to experiment with something called a "Star Trek rock video." It's just a bunch of Star Trek related images like starships and weird aliens (maybe with b-list celebrities like the Kardashians dressed up in silly costumes) set to music. For whatever incomprehensible reason, this becomes a huge hit with teenage girls who throw "Star Trek rock video" parties when it's on, and this includes plenty of teenage girls in Nielsens households.

    That's the right demographic for the CW. The advertisers are happy. The series continues indefinitely. It may have absolutely none of the characteristics "fans" value in a Star Trek series, but it will be, by definition, a successful Star Trek series by the only measures that matter.

    Since I've described a fad, you might figure that this fad would die out quickly. Some fads don't die very quickly, and even if it does, why can't the CW generate a new fad involving the Star Trek brand and ride that one into the ground? And keep doing it forever?

    This example - or something just as out there - is not as insane as it may appear. The broadcast TV biz is in a state of flux because their advertising-based business model is being disrupted by competing pressures. When this kind of disruption occurs in a industry, seismic changes tend to occur because only one thing is certain, the old models can't last and whoever can hit upon a new, successful model can take off like a rocket.

    Broadcast TV needs to come up with some new format that can survive, and that format could take the form of merging their existing brands such as Star Trek with game-based social media activity that combines socializing, gaming-type behavior, and communication between participants. Broadcast and cable TV as a whole may migrate in this direction.

    The future will be very interesting, but just bear in mind what's happening with soap operas. They are dying a long-delayed death because their audience and the technology on which they were originally based have both changed beyond recognition. Soaps predate TV and were originally designed to sell household goods via radio to housewives who were stuck at home all day with the kids, and probably didn't have a car.

    Why should they survive now that both radio and households have changed so radically? The environment they were created for is gone. Similarly, the TV environment Star Trek was created for is also gone. There are no more space operas on TV - high costs combined with ever smaller niche audiences just doesn't work. The TV business in general is going to face a similar fate and the fans of Star Trek as it has been traditionally composed are not likely to be any happier than soap opera fans.

    Star Trek
    may take a form that makes a subset of fans happy, but only as an accidental by-product of the franchise evolving into a new, sustainable form. Let's say a TV series is created with a kind of hyper-targetting in mind, aimed at the geek intelligencia who are likely to control large IT budgets at major corporations. Lots of advertisers would love to reach that market, and they would be so valuable that even if their numbers were small that it could fund the cost of production.

    (For even greater value, access to viewing Star Trek could be by invitation only - you could invite them to an online community like this one where reps from the IT vendors could interact with their customers. Of course, episodes would leak out, but who cares? It doesn't hurt if everyone in the world sees them, just as long as your advertisers are reaching the people they want to reach. Your audience is being served by being the first to see the episodes; by having a series that is crafted to their tastes; and by having an exclusive community of fellow-geeks.)

    What kind of Star Trek are the geek intelligencia likely to want? How about something approaching hard sci fi, as much as it's possible? No more technobabble. All stories are based on legitimate scientific theories, and the stories aren't about the characters so much as they are about elucidating the theory. A trip to the Mirror Universe is a means to explaining parallel universe theory. A time travel episode has several segments, each running through a distinct theory of how time travel might work. There's no reset at the end, unless the actual theory involves a reset (I don't think any of them do).

    That TV series is wildly different than my horrific CW rock video example, but what the two have in common is that they use the Star Trek brand and they fit into a viable business model (assuming they actually do, which we'd only know if someone gave it a try). If Star Trek could take two formats that utterly different and still "work," then pretty much anything is possible.

    In my first example, we have "Star Trek as a teen party" or in a larger sense, "Star Trek as rolling fads." In the second, we have "Star Trek as a business convention" (sort of like the TED convention, which costs $6000 to attend, by invitation only, yet the "content" - the videos of the speeches - are distributed freely). There could easily be "Star Trek as x, y, z" that I'm not even thinking of.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2011
  16. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 1999
    Location:
    Tatoinne
    And you've just inspired yet another business model (one that is far more plausible than my deliberately daffy examples above): "Star Trek as loss leader."

    There's a lot of Star Trek "stuff" to sell, and more being produced all the time, that aren't movies or TV series, such as books and games. So make a TV series, but instead of trying to keep everyone from pirating it, encourage as wide viewership as possible.

    Translate it into every language on Earth. Or better yet, let the fans do that - give them some easy way of slapping subtitles onto the video - fans would compete to become the first Urdu speaker to do a translation, and compete for the best translation as defined by the internet community - and of course fake comedy subtitles would be an industry in and of itself.

    Make the show easily downloadable and distributable. Put it up on YouTube. Ask viewers to check in at www.startrek.com so they can be counted as viewers, with the goal of a billion viewers worldwide.

    And at www.startrek.com, you also sell videos, t-shirts, games, books, bumper stickers, you name it. With a billion people stopping by, even an infinitesimally small percentage being converted into paying customers could fund the series forever.

    It goes without saying that it would be a great place to market an ongoing movie series as well. You could fill theaters worldwide with just your "core fans" buying exclusive premiere night tickets. But with digital distribution of the TV series, this isn't TV vs movies anymore, it's more like a paid movie series that is promoted on an ongoing basis by a TV series. So it's the web series promo idea, but combined with global ambitions to attract a large enough audience that the production values can be equivalent to a real TV series (although the movie and TV actors may be largely different people).

    This is the same business model that has made Google and Facebook huge successes: give everything away free, build massive volumes, and make money on just a small percentage of the customer base, which works when you have truly huge numbers and you're producing a digital product that is basically just information and is cheap to distribute.

    And this is a business model that works off the concept of fandom - the more fans, the better it works, fans being defined as anyone who participates in the whole process, regardless of whether Paramount or CBS ever makes a penny off them.

    So forget my other examples (which I created simply to illustrate the range of ideas that could combine "TV" and "Star Trek" and get people to stop thinking in terms of the past and start thinking about the future.) I'm going on record right now that what I've described is the way to get Star Trek back into TV-like production, if not actually on TV.

    And if it's not Star Trek that pioneers this format, it will be something else. But Star Trek would be perfect, since it's already a global brand name with a huge backlog of salable products, and why shouldn't Star Trek be pioneering the future of entertainment? For CSI: Miami to get there first would be worse than commies on the moon! :rommie:

    If CBS weren't a bunch of stupid old dinosaurs, they'd already be working on this project. They could become the Google of TV. Idiots!
     
  17. Captain Robert April

    Captain Robert April Vice Admiral Admiral

    A new series serving as a loss leader might be just the thing to keep Les Moonves off of the "cancel" switch if the show isn't the box office bonanza that such an expensive show would have to be normally in order to keep afloat.

    So, CBS might be the place to go after all. ;)
     
  18. bismarck_1892

    bismarck_1892 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Termis, all movie franchises run out of steam. So will JJ Trek. Its not an "if" it will happen. The questions is will it happen with the second or the third or etc...

    And then what? TV series is the only way to create a steady stream of income for the network and the studio. One does this buy creating a steady stream of new fans, and satisfying old ones.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2011
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles, California
    Movies do a pretty good job of bringing in a steady stream of money through ancillary markets, you know. Studios don't just produce a movie, release it theatrically, and then put it on a shelf. Most films would lose money that way.
     
  20. bismarck_1892

    bismarck_1892 Captain Captain

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
    Before they had both, connected, movie and TV series. A steady stream of cash can best come in with a steady stream of fans willing to spend it.