Another setback for the eagerly awaited Star Trek TV series revival. Bryan Fuller is stepping down as showrunner on Star Trek: Discovery.
The acclaimed writer-producer of Hannibal and Pushing Daisies has shepherded the project for months. Now Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts (who worked with Fuller on Daisies, as well as worked on ABC’s Revenge and The CW’s Reign) will serve as showrunners. Fuller will stay on board as an executive producer.
The Trek series was announced a year ago for a January, 2017 premiere. The series was conceived as the first original series for the CBS All Access streaming service. In September, the premiere was pushed back four months to May (instead, The Good Wife spin-off will launch first, in Feburary). Star Trek production is currently supposed to start next month. But no cast has been announced; the production has been searching for a diverse female lead for months.
Variety reports there has been tension between Fuller and CBS Television Studios, with Fuller dividing his time between Trek and two other projects: Starz’ fantasy drama American Gods and a reboot of the Amazing Stories anthology series for NBC. Sources say the show is around $6-7 million per episode price tag. We’ve heard the budget has been a source of stress as well, with Fuller wanting to ensure the series had a high-quality look and feel — while Trek has never been as reliant on visual effects as its sci-fi big brother Star Wars, bringing the franchise into 2017 requires a certain level of production values.
Here is the way CBS is positioning things: “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. 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. Alex Kurtzman, co-creator and executive producer, along with Fuller’s producing partners and longtime collaborators, Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts, will also continue to oversee the show with the existing writing and producing team. 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.”
Fuller previously worked on Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and launching a new Trek series has been one of his longtime goals. In August, Fuller sketched the outline for his vision for the show to the press. The new series will focus on a female lieutenant commander on a starship before Captain Kirk helmed the Enterprise.
Fuller put out this tweet in support of the new showrunners:
But fellow writer-producer Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles) was a bit outraged on behalf of Fuller: