Fuller Steps Back From Star Trek: Discovery

Bryan Fuller has dropped out as showrunner of CBS’ Star Trek: Discovery because of the press of production responsibilities on two other shows reports Variety. However, he will remain involved as executive producer.

The decision was made late last week to hand the day-to-day showrunning reins to “Star Trek” exec producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts as “Discovery” gears up for the start of filming next month and a May 2017 premiere date. Fuller, who will remain an executive producer, will still be involved in breaking stories, and the show will continue to follow his vision for the universe that this latest “Trek” series will inhabit.

CBS Television Studios and Fuller had strained relations over the progress of production on Star Trek.

…Fuller is also juggling the final weeks of shooting and post-production duties on Starz’s upcoming drama “American Gods” and prepping a reboot of “Amazing Stories” for NBC. Fuller has penned the first two scripts for “Discovery” and has hammered out the broader story arc and mythology for the new “Trek” realm. But it became clear that he couldn’t devote the amount of time needed for “Discovery” to make its premiere date and with production scheduled to start in Toronto next month.

CBS had already pushed Star Trek’s premiere from January to May to accommodate writing and the production of visual effects.

“We are extremely happy with the creative direction of ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ and the strong foundation that Bryan Fuller has helped us create for the series,” said CBS Television Studios in a statement. “Due to Bryan’s other projects, he is no longer able to oversee the day-to-day of ‘Star Trek,’ but he remains an executive producer, and will continue to map out the story arc for the entire season…Bryan is a brilliant creative talent and passionate ‘Star Trek’ fan, who has helped us chart an exciting course for the series. We are all committed to seeing this vision through and look forward to premiering ‘Star Trek: Discovery’ this coming May 2017.”

(As a postscript — Is Steve Davidson relieved to hear the Amazing Stories reboot is still on Fuller’s plate?)

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5 thoughts on “Fuller Steps Back From Star Trek: Discovery

  1. Oy. That doesn’t sound good.

    I hope this doesn’t turn out to be anything deeper or worse than “Clash of time commitments,” but Fuller was pretty much my one big reason to be optimistic about a new Trek show.

    Fingers crossed. We’ll see what May brings.

  2. > “Is Steve Davidson relieved to hear the Amazing Stories reboot is still on Fuller’s plate?”

    As I recall, Amazing Stories magazine got published the last time around by TSR because Steven Speilberg was reportedly paying $25K/month for the option on the name for a TV production.

    Assuming Davidson is getting money for use of the name now, he’s likely happy it’s still on anyone’s plate.

  3. Dennis,

    I am pleased to hear that maybe some progress is being made. Yes, I have a licensing agreement with NBC; yes, I share a birthday with Steven Spielberg, who apparently loves Amazing Stories as much as I do (but not more). (Yay for SF fans named Steve born in December: someone needs to do a study to determine if this combination of traits is a common one.)

    However, as I suspected beforehand and have learned first hand, Hollywood is slow, mysterious, non-logical and other adjectives.

    The way most such deals work, in general is some initial licensing fees, but the bulk paid only when episodes air (with maybe some more when they are syndicated).

    And FYI, none of the licensing revenue from the show was applied to Amazing Stories budget by TSR back in the day. It most assuredly WILL be applied to the magazine’s budget this time around, if and when it becomes available.

    There is insider stuff I am privileged to on this project that influences the situation; sadly, I am unable to disclose it.

  4. @Steve: “And FYI, none of the licensing revenue from the show was applied to Amazing Stories budget by TSR back in the day. It most assuredly WILL be applied to the magazine’s budget this time around, if and when it becomes available.”

    That’s no surprise. TSR came into a pot of money through Magic: the Gathering more or less by accident. I spent some time talking to one of their folks at a Worldcon back when, and came away with the notion they had no idea how to properly invest the revenue the cards brought in, or really understood the businesses they tried to diversify into. Publishing Amazing Stories brought them $25K/month licensing fees, but it’s not clear they viewed it as a profitable venture on its own or understood what might be required to make it so. They kept it going as long as Speilberg was willing to pay a license fee, but that seems to be the only reason they did it.

    But then, I’ve been following the print SF magazines since the late 60’s, and watching the downward spiral as one after another ceased publication. The miracle is that Analog, Asimovs, and F&SF still exist.

    I’ll be happy to see an Amazing Stories TV project give you revenue to apply to the magazine. You have a concept of what the publication ought to be and how to make it that. You simply need resources to apply.

    What goes on in Hollywood is no surprise, either. An old friend formed a small company whose goal is to bring written SF works to the screen as film or TV, and I found myself a director. He negotiated an option on the book he wanted to start with. It’s been an uphill slog, and that was no surprise at all to me. He had no idea what was involved when he began it, and has been learning the hard way. Hollywood is even weirder than publishing.

    Understood there is background you know and can’t talk about publicly. That, too, is SOP for this stuff.

  5. @Dennis, thank yu very much for the moral support!

    Your history is just a tad off though: it was Wizards of the Coast who did the card game thing; WotC purchased TSR after TSR had acquired Amazing. They published Amazing for a while, then canned it; when they cut back even more, many of their publishing staff left to form Paizo; they published it for a brief while under license; Hasbro acquired WotC; Paizo tried to purchase the name and were turned down, then Hasbro allowed the trademark to lapse.

    In general, you are correct – they didn’t know what to do with it/how to make it profitable: certainly WotC and Hasbro had the resources to support it even at a loss, but, thats how these things seem to go.

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