VIACOM and CBS potential merger - Star Trek movies & TV shows
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Rumored CBS and Viacom Merger Would Reunite 'Star Trek' Rights

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The entire Star Trek franchise may soon be back under one roof. Viacom Corporation and CBS Corporation are looking to merge, according to The Wrap.

 

Shari Redstone, the vice-chairwoman of both Viacom and CBS, is driving the process. A source close to CBS chairman Les Moonves told The Wrap, “He’s having active discussions with Shari and the board on a wide variety of issues all the time, including this one. And those discussions continue with regard to looking to merge the two companies.”

 

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures. It is the former parent company of CBS. Viacom spun CBS off as an independent entity in 2005. The split had major effects on the Star Trek franchise. Paramount Pictures maintained the rights to the films. That included the rights to make more movies. CBS maintained the television rights, future television rights, and licensing rights.

 

As fans saw it, this split came as Star Trek: Enterprise ended. There was no new Star Trek until 2009. That's when Paramount launched its movie reboot of the franchise with JJ Abrams. Those films were the first made independent of a television counterpart.

 

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Reports suggest that stalks between CBS and Viacom to possibly merge are beginning to heat up.

 

The next step is for executives at both companies to finish complete valuations of each company. Reports suggest that, pending valuation, CBS would purchase Viacom through an all-stock transaction. CBS head Leslie Moonves would then become the CEO of the reunited CBS and Viacom. The valuation of Viacom is currently the biggest stumbling block for the deal.

 

CBS and Viacom previously merged in 2000 at the behest of media mogul Sumner Redstone. However, when stocks sagged over the next few years, Redstone had the two companies separate again. The separation split the rights to Star Trek, with Viacom maintaining the film rights through Paramount Pictures and CBS maintaining the television rights as well as licensing.

 

Redstone’s National Amusements has maintained control over both companies through preferred voting shares. Sumner’s daughter, Shari Redstone, now heads national amusements and is vice chair of both CBS and Viacom. Rumors have been circulating for some time that Redstone would like to bring the two companies back together to form a larger entity better equipped to compete in the current era of entertainment mega-corporations. It’s similar to the reasons 21st Century Fox decided to sell its entertainment assets, ultimately finding a buyer in Disney.

 

The hangup surrounding Viacom’s valuation is reportedly due to recent projections from media analysts. Those analysts suggest a brighter than expected outlook for Viacom due to recent changes made by new management. CBS will likely want to value Viacom based on where its cable assets and Paramount Pictures currently stand while Viacom will want to increase value based on the potential future value suggested by these new analyses.

 

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Reports regarding the re-merger of CBS and Viacom (parent company of Paramount Pictures) are buzzing again with expectations that an announcement could be made in August. Today it is being reported that bringing Star Trek back under one roof as it was before the CBS/Viacom split of 2005 is one of the considerations for the re-merger.

 

CBS and Viacom talking merger

 

As we reported in April, CBS and Viacom were again discussing a merger after talks broke down in 2018. Former CBS CEO Leslie Moonves was the main opponent for the deal, with Moonves gone controlling shareholder Shari Redstone appears to be getting her wish of merging. Earlier this week CNBC was first to report that both companies have picked August 8th to come to a deal. This report was later confirmed by industry trades. The date was chosen because it is the day both companies are set to announce their latest quarterly earnings. Variety is reporting today that Viacom CEO Bob Bakish has a lock for the CEO job for the merged entity, and both company’s boards are already discussing the post-merger management structure.

 

Industry analysts have been bullish on a re-merger. In addition to cost-savings and economies of scaleresulting from a merger, it is expected to give the combined entity a boost in advertising revenue. The merger is also expected to position the merged entity better in the “streaming wars,” which may also lead to additional CBS acquisitions such as Starz, Lionsgate, and Univision.

 

Star Trek is a factor

 

And according to today’s The Hollywood Reporter, Star Trek is also a motivating factor. From today’s article:

 

Some insiders — only on deep background, but with a straight face — say that putting Star Trek back under one roof is, indeed, one important reason to reunite Viacom with CBS, much like Disney has worked hard to keep as many Marvel characters as possible in its singular House of Mouse. For that matter, Mission: Impossible also could use some continuity, as Viacom has the films while CBS ran the original series from 1966 to 1973.

 

CBS – who would be the purchasing entity for the merger – is clearly taking Star Trek seriously with their continued expansion of the television franchise. The company has announced a number of additional Star Trek series for CBS All Access, and an animated series for kids on Nickelodeon — which happens to be part of Viacom. All of this activity has been put under one roof already with the recent CBS announcement of the Star Trek Global Franchise Group, headed up by Alex Kurtzman. A re-merger would likely involve this group taking over the development of Star Trek feature films.

 

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The introduction of Spock last season on CBS All Access’ Star Trek: Discovery may be the first in many final frontiers for the fabled franchise now that Paramount owner Viacom and CBS are about to hit the warp drive to corporate reunification.

 

Taking a page from the now Fox-expanded Disney book, new ViacomCBS kingpin Bob Bakish made very clear just now on today’s investor call, Star Trek and theMission Impossible franchises have significant potential to leverage “across all the companies’ platforms.” Soon to be minted CBS CEO Joe Ianniello hit the drum hard himself when he added with an international angle that “scale is becoming more and more important all the time.”

 

With no lingering licensing barriers, the lucrative property created by Gene Roddenberry is now under one ownership for the first time since Star Trek: Enterprise came to an end in 2005. It was, of course, the next year that CBS and Viacom were split into two separate companies.

 

As CBS All Access heads towards launching the much hyped Star Trek: Picard next year with an animated series, shorts and a Michelle Yeoh Discovery spinoff coming down the line, Paramount properties of the first iteration characters like James T. Kirk could become integrated into one even bigger Trekverse.

 

It may not be Marvel yet but it certainly has the potential to rival the Disney-own comic giant with a legacy and currency that is almost as valuable – especially as part of Shari Redstone’s overall strategy is a great global footprint.

 

At this very early stage, we hear that any great Trek will fall under the fiefdom of the David Stapf-run CBS Studios – as we await who truly rules what and whether a fourth Star Trek movie in the latest reboot round is truly coming in an R-rated form from Quentin Tarantino or whoever.

 

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I forgot about this.

 

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CBS chief creative officer David Nevins has a vision for Star Trek’s future as CBS and Viacom merge to become ViacomCBS. Nevins spoke at a Bank of America Merrill Lynch Communications & Entertainment Conference in Los Angeles on Thursday. According to Deadline, he explained how he saw Star Trek as a key brand that Viacom and CBS can nurture together. “We really believe in not only serving inside our own ecosystem but serving people outside,” Nevins said at the event. “What we’re trying to do right now with Star Trek is build that brand. We want it to get younger and more relevant to people.” He referred to the merger as creating a “virtuous eco-system” where “If you’re smart about it, you can create a lot of value.”

 

The CBS and Viacom merger brings together two media entities that split apart over a decade ago. The merger puts the Star Trek film rights under the same media umbrella as the rest of the Star Trek franchise for the first time since that corporate split took place.

 

Viacom is the parent company of Paramount Pictures and the former parent company of CBS. Viacom spun CBS off as an independent entity in 2005. The split had major effects on the Star Trek franchise. Paramount Pictures maintained the franchise film rights and the rights to make new Star Trek movies. CBS maintained the television rights, future television rights, and licensing rights to the Star Trek franchise.

 

The split came around the same time that Star Trek: Enterprise ended, bringing Star Trek’s 18-year continuous run on television, which began with Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987, to a close. There was no new Star Trek until 2009 when Paramount launched its movie reboot of the franchise from director/producer JJ Abrams. Those films — Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond — were the first Star Trek movies made independent of a television counterpart, featuring a cast that has only appeared in Star Trek films and never on a Star Trek television series.

 

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Paramount Pictures has a one-two punch planned for Star Trek’s cinematic future. Paramount’s parent company, Viacom, in December merged with CBS, the company that controls Star Trek television. The new, merged company, ViacomCBS, brings the Star Trek film and television rights back under the same umbrella for the first time since 2005. While the Star Trek television franchise is already expanding on CBS All Access with shows like Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Picard, Paramount’s Star Trek film franchise has been adrift after Star Trek Beyond disappointed at the box office in 2016 and the studio's initial plans for Star Trek 4 were sidelined by contractual disputes with stars Chris Pine and Chris Hemsworth.

 

But ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish confirmed that the Star Trek film franchise is ready for a comeback. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bakish stated at the UBS Global Technology, Media & Telecommunications Conference in New York that Paramount has two Star Trek movies in the works.

 

While Bakish did not reveal any specifics about the films, the first is presumably the fourth Kelvin Timeline Star Trek movie. Paramount is in negotiations with Legion creator Noah Hawley to write and direct the film, and Pine is said to be returning to the captain’s chair. There’s no word on whether Hemsworth will return as George Kirk, father of Capt. James T. Kirk, or if the original time travel plot for the film has been abandoned altogether.

 

The other Star Trek film is likely the Quentin Tarantino project. Tarantino pitched the idea for the film to producer J.J. Abrams, and Paramount handed the idea to a writers’ room to break down. Mark L. Smith was hired to pen the -script. At last update, the project was awaiting Tarantino’s notes on the finished draft of the screenplay to move forward. Tarantino was busy promoting his latest film, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood, and Paramount always planned for the Tarantino film to follow Star Trek 4. The studio also hopes to have Tarantino direct the film, which he has described as “Pulp Fiction in space,” though that deal has not been struck as of yet.

 

“Well, it’s an idea then we got together and talked it out and then we hired Mark Smith, who did [The] Revenant to write the -script,” Tarantino said during an interview while promoting Once Upon a Time. “I don’t know how much I can say. The one thing I can say is it would deal with the Chris Pine timeline. Now, I still don’t quite understand, and JJ [Abrams] can’t explain it to me, and my editor has tried to explain it to me and I still don’t get it...about something happened in the first movie that now kind of wiped the slate clean. I don’t buy that. I don’t like it. I don’t appreciate it. I don’t — f*** that...I want the whole series to have happened, it just hasn’t happened yet."

:whatthe::applause:

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If there are two Star Trek films planned, this could leave room for Noah Hawley and Quentin Tarintino.

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