Thursday, February 25, 2021

First Look at 'Star Trek: Prodigy'

Official CBS Press Release:


Animated Series Star Trek: Prodigy from CBS Studios and Nickelodeon to Now Premiere on Paramount+ This Year

First Look at the Star Trek: Prodigy Bridge Crew Also Revealed Today

[Scroll Down] for the Star Trek Universe Video Narrated by Alex Kurtzman from Today's ViacomCBS Streaming Event

[Scroll Down] for First Look Image of the Star Trek: Prodigy Bridge Crew

ViacomCBS today announced that the Star Trek Universe will head to Paramount +. The news was revealed during ViacomCBS' Investor Day event for its highly anticipated new streaming service. Included within the line-up is the upcoming all-new animated kids' series STAR TREK: PRODIGY which will now premiere on Paramount+ in the U.S. in 2021. Developed and produced by Nickelodeon and CBS Studios, PRODIGY is the first Star Trek series for the kids and family audience and will bow later on Nickelodeon, following its premiere run on Paramount+.

A first-look image of the STAR TREK: PRODIGY bridge crew was also released today.  In PRODIGY, six young outcasts know nothing about the ship they have commandeered - a first in the history of the Star Trek Franchise, but over the course of their adventures together, they will each be introduced to Starfleet and the ideals it represents.

With the addition of STAR TREK: PRODIGY, the entire Star Trek Universe will now be available to stream on Paramount+. The Star Trek Universe on Paramount+ will also include current and upcoming seasons of the original series STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, STAR TREK: PICARD, the animated series STAR TREK: LOWER DECKS and the upcoming STAR TREK: STRANGE NEW WORLDS. The Star Trek Universe on Paramount+ also includes all 726 episodes from the six classic Star Trek series and a selection of Star Trek films.

"In three years, we've expanded the Star Trek Universe to new heights, creating five original series - each with its own unique storytelling and distinct cinematic feel," said Alex Kurtzman, Executive Producer Star Trek Universe. "We're so excited to partner with Dan and Kevin Hageman and the team at Nickelodeon for STAR TREK: PRODIGY as we bring Trek to a new generation of younger fans with an animated series as rich in character and scope as our live action shows. I'm thrilled audiences of all ages now have instant access to the full Trek library, classic and new original series, on our new home at Paramount+."

"When STAR TREK: DISCOVERY first premiered, we knew we had the beginning of something special," said Julie McNamara, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, Paramount+. "Over three years later, we are thrilled that Paramount+ will serve as the streaming home of the Star Trek Universe, with an unparalleled existing and expanding library of Trek content. The upcoming addition of STAR TREK: PRODIGY to Paramount+ means subscribers now have a Trek series for every member of the family - including kids. We are excited to bring this next chapter to a new generation of Trek fans alongside the creative masterminds behind Secret Hideout and Nickelodeon, as well as the talented Kevin and Dan Hageman."

"Debuting Prodigy on Paramount+ alongside the complete Star Trek universe points to our strategy of growing Nickelodeon's reach by expanding our top franchises and diving deeper into their worlds, and their characters and stories," said Ramsey Naito, President, Nickelodeon Animation. "And on top of having great characters and absolutely gorgeous animation, PRODIGY shows how the ViacomCBS brands can come together to make great, compelling content that appeals to both new audiences and long-time super fans. We're incredibly proud of this series and we're looking forward to building its audience across the Paramount+ and Nickelodeon platforms."

Developed by Emmy(R) Award-winners Kevin and Dan Hageman (Trollhunters and Ninjago) the CG-animated series STAR TREK: PRODIGY is the first Star Trek series aimed at younger audiences and will follow a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure, meaning and salvation.

STAR TREK: PRODIGY is from CBS' Eye Animation Productions, CBS Studios' new animation arm; Nickelodeon Animation Studio, led by President of Animation, Ramsey Naito; Secret Hideout; and Roddenberry Entertainment. Alex Kurtzman, Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth will serve as executive producers alongside co-showrunners Kevin and Dan Hageman. Ben Hibon will direct, co-executive produce and serve as the creative lead of the all-new animated series. Aaron Baiers will also serve as co-executive producer.

About Paramount+

ViacomCBS' existing subscription video-on-demand and live streaming service, CBS All Access, will be rebranded as Paramount+ on March 4, 2021 as part of the service's expansion to feature content from ViacomCBS' leading portfolio of broadcast, news, sports and entertainment brands. ViacomCBS will also bring Paramount+ to international markets with an initial debut in Australia, Latin America and the Nordics in 2021.

About CBS Studios:

CBS Studios is one of the world's leading suppliers of entertainment programming with more than 70 series currently in production for broadcast and cable networks, streaming services and other emerging platforms. The Studio's expansive portfolio spans a diverse slate of commercially successful and critically acclaimed scripted programming, genre-defining franchises including the ever-growing "Star Trek" universe, award-winning late night and daytime talk shows, and an extensive library of iconic intellectual property.

About Nickelodeon

Nickelodeon, now in its 41st year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The brand includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, location-based experiences, publishing and feature films. For more information or artwork, visit Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of ViacomCBS Inc. (Nasdaq: VIACA, VIAC).


Original post:

The Star Trek Universe is making its permanent home on Paramount+, including the premiere of the latest Trek iteration, the animated kids series Star Trek: Prodigy, ViacomCBS announced during its Investors Day presentation on Wednesday, February 24.

Originally conceived for Nickelodeon, Prodigy, from Kevin and Dan Hageman (Netflix’s Trollhunters), will now premiere on the streamer later in 2021. After its 10-episode run has concluded there, the show — about a coterie of alien kids who commander a seemingly abandoned Starfleet vessel — will air again on the linear Nickelodeon channel. The network also released a first look at the bridge crew from the show, highlighting that none of the main characters on Prodigy will be human, a first for a Trek series.

The move is part of a wider official strategy of placing every current and former Trek TV series on Paramount Plus, including the upcoming Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – which we got a glimpse of sorts of in one of the many pumped up promos that ran in the presentation, and new seasons of Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Lower Decks which are also set to premiere in 2021.

“It does speak to having a franchise that is unique to Paramount Plus, and we’re very excited about that,” Paramount Plus programming chief Julie McNamara told Variety. “There is a kind of franchise strategy, which is the notion that if you execute new versions of this really strong IP that you have well, you’re going to drive people across the paywall.”

“This is about having the best of both worlds in terms of utilizing the Paramount+ platform to expose Trek fans and their families to this incredible show for them and their children and in our early days of Paramount+ give a lovely boost to the platform,” told Deadline. “Then, to have it be on Nickelodeon linear following that would expose it to a kid audience that may not have that initial Trek interest,” the exec added.

“So, the combination of the two gives us the best possible chance of hitting all of our demographics and targets in terms of expansion of the franchise that it promises,” McNamara continued.

Along with Prodigy, Discovery and Lower Decks, Paramount Plus is also in active production on the second season of Star Trek: Picard, and the new series Star Trek: Brave New Worlds. It’s the largest expansion of the Trek franchise since its inception in 1966, but unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and recent plans for the expansion of the Star Wars franchise on Disney Plus, don’t expect these Trek series to be unfolding within a closely knit storytelling universe.

“We’re aiming to have our shows feel unique and different from each other,” Alex Kurtzman, the overall executive producer for the Star Trek Universe, tells Variety. “We want to give everybody a reason to watch each show.”

While fans will see “interconnectedness” within the shows, Kurtzman says, there aren’t plans to tell a single cohesive story. “That’s a lot of fun, but our goal is not to make it so insular that if you haven’t seen the show you’re lost when you watch another show,” he says.

Kurtzman and McNamara say there are still “conversations” about a new Star Trek series around Michelle Yeoh’s Philippa Georgiou and the mysterious Section 31, and there are other Trek shows in development that haven’t been previously announced. But they emphasized that the current five-series slate will likely not expand further until at least one of the shows runs its course.

“We’re very careful about curating the pacing — the number of shows at any given time — and what those shows are, so that we make sure that it’s always exciting when there’s a new track show coming out,” says McNamara. The rough schedule, she says, is to debut “a new Trek a quarter” on Paramount Plus.

“Whether there’s a show that comes up that feels additive and we should add that into the mix, or waiting for attrition of another Trek show, we feel good about where we are,” she says. McNamara said that by “attrition,” she means either a Trek show “aging out” naturally, or — in an allusion to 80-year-old Picard star Patrick Stewart, “perhaps an older lead is only committed to a certain number of seasons and and therefore we move on from that.”

Specifically with Prodigy, McNamara says another factor that contributed to the decision to move the show to streaming involved data from Paramount Plus’s predecessor, CBS All Access, that showed subscribers who watched Trek shows also watched Nickelodeon’s animated series The Legend of Korra, a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender.

“It seemed very wise for us to access both the Star Trek fan base that’s already on the platform and also kids,” she says. “Those are the two groups that you want to reach.”

At the same time, ViacomCBS didn’t want to lose the opportunity to use Prodigy to entice a new generation to become Star Trek fans, which drove the decision to re-air the show on Nick.

“It’s a great way to expose children to Star Trek, who may be on Nickelodeon to watch other franchises,” said McNamara.

Centering on six misfits who take over a beat-up Starfleet ship that they know almost nothing about, Prodigy intends to advocate the Trekverse philosophy of inclusion, curiosity and adventure.

“This show is really for younger kids,’ Trekverse overlord Alex Kurtzman said to Deadline. Kurtzman is an executive producer on Prodigy, along with Heather Kadin, Katie Krentz, Rod Roddenberry and Trevor Roth and co-showrunners the Hageman brothers. Ben Hibon will direct and co-executive produce, with Aaron Baiers also serving as co-EP on Prodigy.

“As somebody who grew up watching certain shows that spoke to me as a kid, but then also spoke to my parents so that my parents could watch it with me, I think that speaks very much to one of the things that Trek does right,” Kurtzman said. “Families watch it together. A parent can watch it with their children. And this show is going to be for our youngest audience so far, but I think given the scope and scale of it it’s not really going to look like anything you’ve seen before in that we have a really cinematic approach to what we’re doing.”

“The idea is that we should be able to project this in a movie theater and it would hold strong and stand the test of a big screen,” Kutzman proudly stated of Prodigy as the seven-year old CBS All Access mutates into Paramount+ this week.

As franchise boss Kurtzman proclaimed in a video shown during the sprawling and somewhat delayed Paramount+ presentation:

“If you put them all together it forms a very complete package, Kurtzman noted of the Trekverse. “And that is really nice because our goal has been to make sure that you don’t watch one Star Trek show and think well, I’ve seen this one so I don’t need to watch the other ones. It’s a cohesive, very curated and manicured approach that we’ve taken.”

“Engage,” as Jean-Luc would say and Paramount+ is hoping you will do.

How the 'Star Trek' Universe Will Fit Into (and Expand) on Paramount+

Nickelodeon's 'Star Trek: Prodigy' will move to the streamer as exec producer Alex Kurtzman and Julie McNamara, head of originals for the service, open up about the future of the franchise.
Star Trek will have one central home within the ViacomCBS fold: Paramount+.

The streamer, which will be rebranded from CBS All Access on March 4, has become the home for Star Trek: Prodigy, the animated comedy that was developed by and poised to launch on Nickelodeon. The kids-focused series will join the rest of Alex Kurtzman's other Star Trek originals — Discovery, Picard, Lower Decks and the upcoming Strange New Worlds — on the platform, which will be further showcased on the service.

Star Trek: Prodigy, created by Kevin and Dan Hageman and exec produced by Kurtzman's CBS Studios-based Secret Hideout banner, marks the first show in the franchise aimed at younger audiences. It follows a group of lawless teens who discover a derelict Starfleet ship and use it to search for adventure. The series will debut this year on Paramount+ before securing a second window at a later date on Nickelodeon as the streamer becomes the central priority for parent company ViacomCBS. The 20-episode order will be split in two parts, with Nick securing the first half ahead of the streaming launch of the second, etc. "At ViacomCBS now, there are so many tools in the tool kit to play with and you don't want a one size fits all strategy; you want to have a concerted strategy about how best to reach the audience you're trying to reach," P+ head of originals Julie McNamara tells The Hollywood Reporter of the strategy.

The toon joins a massive library of Star Trek offerings on Paramount+ that includes all 726 episodes from the six classic shows as well as a selection of feature films in the franchise. Prodigy is part of a larger effort by franchise captain Kurtzman to introduce Star Trek to younger audiences. "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," he told THR ahead of the show's announcement in 2019.

Below, Kurtzman and Paramount+ head of originals Julie McNamara talk with The Hollywood Reporter about how Star Trek will fit into the streamer as it expands to better reflect all of ViacomCBS' brands as the conglomerate, like others, positions itself for the future.

How does the move of Star Trek: Prodigy speak to the larger strategy for both Paramount+ and the franchise itself?

McNamara: It reflects exactly what we're looking to do at Paramount+. In the early going for the new platform, franchises are incredibly valuable in driving people across the paywall and we know this. The addition of Prodigy is huge in that it's taking this franchise and expanding possibility of this hungry new demographic for Star Trek. It does speak to the highest execution of the kind of things we're looking to do at Paramount+. Part of what we've seen is our Star Trek fans on CBS All Access, it's interesting what they'll go to. They'll go to The Legend of Korra and pop around and find things that fit that particular — and I say this lovingly — nerd demo. Our hope and thought, in concert with [Nickelodeon president] Brian Robbins, is that by bringing those Trek fans and their children into Prodigy on the platform is great way of hitting those hardcore Trek fans. On the other hand, on the linear side, is hitting kids that may not be interested in Star Trek but do watch Nickelodeon and would be interested in trying something new on the network.

Alex, we've talked in the past about how you wanted to do an animated show to draw kids into the franchise from a young age. Now that you've done that with Prodigy, what's the next frontier you want to look at as you expand Trek?

Kurtzman: There are other Trek stories to tell in the kids space. Hopefully, in success, this is going to be the first of many in that space. In our live-action world, one thing we hear a lot from fans is how much they've liked that we freed ourselves from canon in Discovery and jumped forward into a new timeline with a whole bunch of new worlds and new characters. What that speaks to more than anything is the spirit of exploration that is at the heart of Star Trek. Whatever we do next is probably going to be in different timelines and different areas of the universe that haven't been explored before; a show that hasn't been dedicated to them yet.

Knowing that you can have a show on Nickelodeon with a rollout like Prodigy, that could hypothetically afford you the opportunity to make a Trek show for BET or anywhere else in the ViacomCBS ecosystem.

Kurtzman: Absolutely, 100 percent. That's the beauty of the merger for Star Trek: now we have this huge family of networks and streamers and opportunities that are exciting because it means we can curate and target thoughtfully specific Star Trek shows for specific audiences that networks cater to. Would I want to put something on Showtime or BET like we did on Nickelodeon? That's a great conversation. Ultimately for Paramount+ to be the centralized home of all Star Trek is ideal but I do like the idea of being able to explore what kinds of strange shows you can put on that don't necessarily fit into a box. That's so much of what we're trying to do with Trek: give you what's familiar but also forge new ground. As an audience member, I know I like to watch shows that take me into new spaces that are different and tell stories in a way that don’t' feel like a formula you've seen before. Anything that can allow us to do that — both big and small — I'm excited about.

This interview is happening ahead of Investor Day. And without knowing what the new platform looks like, how will Star Trek be positioned? We've seen content channels for Marvel and other brands at Disney+ and FX on Hulu, etc.?

McNamara: The hubs that we have that are along the lines of what you're talking about currently are based on the studio brands: Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, MTV and CBS. Of anything that we have, this Star Trek universe that Alex has built would qualify as a universe. But I do want to get back to you on when we'll have a specific hub because there are so many things that are going on right now on the product side readying for launch but certainly that's what we've talked about. Is Star Trek the one that we put next to all those brands as its own world of shows in addition to it being an original on P+.

How does Star Trek fit in with other brands? It seems like this is a shift from network branding to franchises. What are some of the other brands that you could foresee Trek living alongside, NCIS?

McNamara: These franchises are quite important. And what constitutes a franchise: SpongeBob is a franchise. Taylor Sheridan has a few things that he's going to be talking about — does that constitute a franchise? On movie side, there's a lot of great IP that we're working on series projects around that. Right now, our first and foremost mission is to make sure that in going from CBS All Access to Paramount+ people understand that in coming to Paramount+, they get news, sports and a mountain of entertainment. They get the live feed from CBS. The brands — Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, all the Viacom side of the company. That's the strong initial message. Then what of the individual pieces of content or collections of content constitute a franchise? Trek right now is a big one. We have a few other things — like in the kids space, SpongeBob, Rug Rats and iCarly. And on the CBS side, we've talked about building out some of the procedurals that have been successful. We have a few tricks up our sleeve.

Disney is doing a dozen Star Wars and another dozen Marvel originals. Could you see Trek expanding in a similar fashion? 

McNamara: We are in discussions about the next phase of the Trek universe beyond those five shows that Alex has built. We are invested in growing the universe of Star Trek. That said, it's important to make sure that we are curating these properly. We're always incubating a number of things together and then working out what the right cadence is and what the right next show is. Those are active and constant conversations. There are multiple things in the hopper right now that represent that next phase but we don't want to expand it too much, too fast to where anyone is ever saying, "It's just another Trek show." We don't want that.

Kurtzman: Despite all appearances, we're not interested in being in the quantity business. I don't think that serves the Star Trek universe. We are interested in being in the quality business. It takes upwards of two years from inception to postproduction. Yes, we've thought beyond the five [shows]. Yes, we're having conversations about what happens beyond the five. But we have to make sure we're staying true to the way we've built the first five. Each show is incredibly different, offers a specific thing, they're not all targeted at the same audiences — but interestingly enough, they tend to bring in the same audience. It's difficult to make something for everyone. You end up making something for no one when you take that approach. Do I see something on BET? Yes, because there may be a niche Star Trek show that's perfect for that. I want to make sure as we build this out that we're being thoughtful about creating a really interesting rainbow of colors, that each show feels different and you don't think, "I can watch Picard and not watch the others." Because they're all very different. That to us is more important — staying true to that approach.

In a broader sense, Julie, how does the relaunch of this platform change how you think about what the originals brand is compared to when it was CBS All Access?

McNamara: It's getting defined in my view: what's broadcast show on CBS? What's a Showtime show? What's a Paramount+ show? The originals are driving from the new brands that have been brought in, so those are some of the originals. If you're on a Nick hub, you'll get originals consistent with a top creative team from that brand that has, for decades, been the lead in kids and family. And with MTV and Chris McCarthy on originals on the platform, you'll get the best reality and guilty pleasure shows you can find. And for us, in terms of the adult scripted originals, high quality streaming but an accessibility and, in many cases, a four-quadrant notion — but not in all cases. We're looking to be a big tent place that does ultimately have something for everyone. Not every show is for everyone but everyone in the family should ultimately be able to come to Paramount+ and find something they want to watch. The originals are moving in a direction of acknowledging that this should be big-tent entertainment. That's the north star for us right now.

What has the team there learned from the past several years of CBS All Access that you're applying going forward? What needed to be revamped? 

McNamara: We are about to go into production of season five of The Good Fight, which was the first show that launched on CBS All Access. While CBS All Access has been around for a while, we are coming out of only our fourth year of having exclusive originals on the platform. Between that show and the Trek-verse and some of the other things we've done, I'm proud of where we've been. But Paramount+ has an opportunity to mine so many more resources in terms of making sure we reach everybody. We're moving more in the direction of not being so concerned with separating ourselves from the CBS broadcast network and being more appreciative of the entire family dynamic and wanting to draw everyone to Paramount+.

What does the expansion of Paramount+ mean for other ViacomCBS streamers like BET+ and Showtime's direct platform?

McNamara: Those two right now are maintaining their unique streaming identity and destination. Whether that will change in the future, those will be discussions. What are all the intricacies of why those two specifically are maintaining their streaming presence even though there is a BET presence on Paramount+ as well, that's a larger conversation.


Originally published: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 22:54 GMT.

Additional source: Anime Superhero Forum /@Royal Bubble; Press release via

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