10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Alex Kurtzman Inks $25M Overall Deal Extension With CBS TV Studios, Will Expand 'Star Trek' TV Franchise
Alex Kurtzman is staying in business with CBS Television Studios.
The executive producer behind CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery has renewed his overall deal with CBS Television Studios, signing a massive five-year extension with the studio behind the latest entry in the long-running sci-fi franchise. The new agreement keeps Kurtzman, whose pact was up this year, with the studio through 2023. Sources say the deal is estimated at $5 million per year as Kurtzman receives a sizable backend on his programming.
Under the new pact, Kurtzman will serve as the Star Trek: Discovery's lone showrunner after taking over from Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg, who were recently fired from the series. Kurtzman will also expand the Star Trek franchise for the small screen, developing new series, miniseries and other content, including animation.
The new deal comes as rumblings about another Star Trek series, featuring Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, have been getting louder. Sources say Kurtzman and Akiva Goldsman, who left Discovery after season one, are attached to the Stewart-led reboot. CBS TV Studios declined to confirm the Stewart project as sources say a deal is far from completed and may not happen, despite the fact that the actor recently teased his potential return to the franchise.
This marks Kurtzman's second solo deal with the studio after splitting from former producing partner Roberto Orci in 2016. Kurtzman and his Secret Hideout banner, led by Kadin and senior vp TV Aaron Baiers, also exec produced CBS' recently renewed Instinct, veteran procedural Hawaii Five-0 and Scorpion, which was canceled in May. Under Kurtzman's new deal, Secret Hideout will also continue to develop new projects for broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. The shingle remains exclusive to CBS TV Studios. Secret Hideout will also expand its production hub, adding inclusive voices and cultivating new talent. Kurtzman is currently developing The Man Who Fell to Earth for Hulu with Jenny Lumet.
Star Trek: Discovery, meanwhile, has proven to be a success for subscription platform CBS All Access, even after two showrunner changes (Berg and Harberts took over for Bryan Fuller). In announcing its season two renewal, CBS All Access — which does not release viewership information — said Star Trek: Discovery helped drive subscriber growth to the new platform. Production on season two started in April, and the series is expected to return in early 2019.
Kurtzman's decision to remain at his longtime home at CBS Television Studios comes as other showrunners have begun to survey their options after Netflix recently poached prolific producers Shonda Rhimes (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal) and Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Crime Story) with nine-figure overall deals. For his part, Greg Berlanti recently illustrated that you don't need to leave the broadcast studio system to score a nine-figure deal after he renewed his Warner Bros. TV pact for $400 million.
Kurtzman joins a roster of producers at CBS Television Studios that includes Jerry Bruckheimer, Peter Lenkov, Aline Brosh McKenna and Robert and Michelle King. The deal comes after veteran producers Eric and Kim Tannenbaum exited their CBS TV Studios deal for Lionsgate Television.
Kurtzman is repped by CAA and Gendler & Kelly.