Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Nickelodeon Near Deal for Animated 'Star Trek' Series from Alex Kurtzman, Hageman Brothers & CBS TV Studios

‘Star Trek’: Nickelodeon Near Deal For Kids Animated Series From Alex Kurtzman, Hageman Brothers & CBS TV Studios

Alex Kurtzman and CBS TV Studios have set the latest extension of the beloved Star Trek TV franchise. Nickelodeon is said to be in negotiations for a Star Trek animated series from Emmy-winning writers Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters, Ninjago), CBS TV Studios and Kurtzman’s studio-based Secret Hideout banner, Deadline reports.

Update (3/26): Speaking on the red carpet at PaleyFest 2019 on Sunday, March 24, 2019, Star Trek producer Heather Kadin emphasized to SYFY Wire about how they're looking to give each new Star Trek project a distinct voice all its own.

"The important thing has been they should not feel the same at all," Kadin explained. "The show on Nickelodeon won’t feel at all like the animated show on CBS All Access, which is meant to be more of an adult animated show. Picard is going to look and feel completely different than Discovery… same as Section 31. They should all be different, because the minute you tune into one, and you’re like, 'Which show is this?' we failed."

Update (3/26 (ii)): Alex Kurtzman further confirmed to TrekMovie at PaleyFest Los Angeles that a animated Star Trek series is in the works at Nickelodeon, and that it'll be very different from Lower Decks!

Update (2/14) - Nickelodeon has confirmed to Kidscreen that the network is working on a new original animated series based on the world of Star Trek. Aimed at kids, Nickelodeon will partner with US broadcaster CBS to produce the show, which will be a first-of-its-kind take on the franchise!

Nickelodeon and the Hageman brothers have also confirmed the news on social media:

Penned by the Hageman brothers, the animated series is targeted at younger audiences. Because of that, it would be the first new Star Trek project outside of CBS All Access, which has an adult focus.

The project, whose concept and plot is being kept under wraps for now, is envisioned as a major tentpole series for Nickelodeon under its new president Brian Robbins, who was brought in in October to lead the kid-centric Viacom brand amid declining linear ratings and shifting viewing habits, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told media outlets. It also marks a collaboration between Viacom and CBS Corp companies that likely will become corporate siblings as their parents are headed to a merger.

The new animated series will join Star Trek: Discovery, now in its second season, along with Picard (working title) that will see the return of Patrick Stewart (American Dad) as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard; animated series Lower Decks from Mike McMahan (Rick & Morty) targeted at mature audiences, which received a two-season order in October 2018; and Section 31, which is in development with Michelle Yeoh attached to star. All are for CBS All Access. Star Trek: Lower Decks will focus on the the support crew serving on one of Starfleet’s least important ships. Star Trek: Section 31 will be centered on Michelle Yeoh’s Discovery character and her work for the mysterious Section 31.

Kevin and Dan Hageman’s writing credits include The Lego Movie, The Lego Ninjago Movie, Hotel Transylvania, and the Trollhunters and Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu series. They most recently co-wrote the screenplay for Croods 2, which is currently shooting. They are repped by WME and Underground Management.

CBS TV Studios has been steadily building out its slate of Star Trek projects since the launch of Star Trek: Discovery in September 2017. Producer Alex Kurtzman signed a five-year deal at the studio last summer to oversee all Star Trek TV projects. Kurtzman first revealed the project to The Hollywood Reporter in January 2019.

"There’s other animated things that we’re building that are an entirely different perspective and an entirely different tone [from Lower Decks]. What’s exciting about it is not only looking at each animated series as what’s the different tone, but what’s the different technology we can apply to these things so that visually they’re entirely different?", Kurtzman told the THR.

"I go back to my childhood and Luke Skywalker, the [Star Wars] farm boy who looks out at the twin suns of Tatooine and imagines his future. Trek never gave me that, Trek was always fully formed adults, already in Starfleet and people who have decided who they are. And it never was aspirational that way. It’s important to me to find a way to go back and reach younger kids in a way that Trek should and never really has."

This will actually not be the first time in its history that Nickelodeon has featured Star Trek related programming. From 1985-1990, the cable network ran reruns of Star Trek: The Animated Series, the Filmation-produced animated version of Trek that originally ran from 1973 to 1974, featuring the voice talents of most of the Star Trek: TOS cast.

If the project comes to fruition, it would be the first modern-day Star Trek show to premiere outside of CBS All Access following CBS TV Studios reviving the franchise on its direct-to-consumer platform.

Kurtzman also teased the show and Lower Decks to ComicBook.com earlier this year:

“Yeah, we are in development on that now too, and that's happening for sure,” Kurtzman told ComicBook.com. “Animation, it takes a year. It's actually very much like what we're doing on our shows because of the visual effects component. It takes a year from writing the script, doing the animation, getting it back, refining it. So, we don't ever want to rush anything out until it's perfectly ready. And the beautiful thing about streaming is we don't have to. We get to keep doing it until we all love it, and then you get to watch. And hopefully, you'll love it too.”

“It is, but it's also...I think you'll find that it is utterly reverent of everything we love about Trek,” Kurtzman said of the kid-friendly animated series. “And so, our intention is that actually, it will also appeal to older kids too, even though, yes, it will traditionally look younger. But no, I think hopefully the age range is somewhere between 8 and 45.”

“They'll be connected, I would say, mostly peripherally,” Kurtzman explained to ComicBook.com. “It's incredibly important to all of us that each show is a unique prospect, that it doesn't feel like you're getting the same thing from each show. And so, each has to have its own identity. That means it's about certain things. The tone has to be unique and yet still be Star Trek. It has to visually look different from the other shows that we're planning on making.”

Are you excited to see a Star Trek animated series potentially hit Nickelodeon? Should the new series embrace an Avatar: The Last Airbender approach? Or should it go for a more comedic tone (like The Orville) to appeal to young viewers? What do you want to see in the series? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

More Nick: Nickelodeon and Netflix Sign Original Animated Film Deal; Announces 'Rise of the TMNT' and 'The Loud House' Movies!

Originally published: Thursday, February 14, 2019 at 12:11am GMT.

Additional source: Variety; H/T: Nickandmore! via Anime Superhero Forum /@kanc, Geek and Sundry, iO9, TrekMovie.com, Screen Rant, IGN, The Hollywood Reporter, TheWrap, SuperHeroHype, Newsarama, Fatherly.

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