Alex Kurtzman’s Contract is Extended!!!The Dark Herald
The poster-child for failing upwards has done it again.
Alex Kurtzman’s contract has been extended until 2026 (two years early) and is being paid $150 million to continue doing to Star Trek what Jack the Ripper did to the sex workers in White Chapel. There were rumors flying around last week, which I didn’t report on because I couldn’t quite believe it. Although, this became a worrying possibility when Kurtzman hijacked Strange New Worlds away from Akiva Goldman.
Only Chris Chibnall has destroyed a franchise more completely than Alex Kurtzman has destroyed Star Trek. The fanbase could not have more thoroughly rejected it. STD was the lowest-rated show on CBS when it finally went over the air. With the (presumed we will know for sure by January) fall of Kathleen Kennedy, there is no producer more hated by his franchise’s fans in Hollywood.
Is Hollywood really this stupid?
Of course. Silly question.
How did this thing happen?
That is more complicated. There are three big issues at play but they are all connected and interconnected.
1. Paramount is in deep trouble.
2. Outside funding.
Of the Big Five studios, Paramount is easily in the worst shape financially. They don’t have a big corporate overlord with infinitely deep pockets. They don’t have a major franchise in production other than Star Trek. They own a few (TMNT and SpongeBob) but those are moribund. Sumner Redstone’s decision to split Viacom proved to be a disaster, remarrying the two halves of the company has been its own separate disaster. Paramount Plus is dead last in the Streaming Wars and the only guy who is making any money at all for service is indeed Alex Kurtzman. The executives are so focused on what little money is coming in that they can’t see just how much is getting left on the table because of Kurtzman Star Trek.
They are sort of like Disney in that regard. Disney didn’t seem to have a clue how much Star Wars could be worth until Baby Yoda first perked his ears up.
Star Wars had Jon Favreau trying to save it. Alas, Star Trek has no such paladin fighting for its soul.
Because of Paramount’s dire situation, outside funding is everything. Star Trek Discovery was eagerly greenlit, and Kurtzman was apparently able to literally write his own contract, all because Netflix agreed to lavishly fund the first two seasons of STD. Picard was funded because Amazon was similarly chumped. For Paramount, external funding isn’t a big thing, it’s the only thing. However, it looked like the money had finally run out, and with it Kurtzman’s luck.
But Lucifer always upholds his end of the deal until it’s time to collect on it. Funding seems to have appeared.
On July 16th, Playmates Toys out of Hong Kong announced that they had inked a deal to produce the first line of Star Trek toys in about ten years. And they have got everything. Every single character from Kirk to Archer, plus the malignant Mikey Spock and her crew. All of it. Star Trek holds magic memories for Playmates, they held the license from 1992-1999 when Star Trek was at its height. I don’t know for certain if Playmates is where the money came from but a short time after the deal was announced, the rumors of Kurtzman’s return to favor started making the rounds. In any case, there is no doubt in my mind that Alex Kurtzman has found the money from somewhere.
Which brings us to politics. Kurtzman absolutely has the right politics. The SJWism infests everything his production company spawns. One of his shows this fall is called the Comey Rule which is about the fight between James Comey and President Trump, it’s based on Comey’s book. So, yeah….
Kurtzman is still following the great promise of getting rid of the old fans and replacing them with new fans. Getting rid of the old ones is never a problem but the new ones never show up in similar numbers.
But CBS/Paramount has no idea what they are losing.
Hollywood executives don’t have their pulse on genre fandom or for that matter society in general. They are in their own club and it’s a club where you spend all of your time trying to impress each other. Fandom is not a part of that club. And they have absolutely no idea how to balance the two, it’s not even an option for them. So, they take the path of least resistance and continue trying to impress each other. They focus on where their bread is buttered, which is keeping the club happy. They can’t see the opposition from the fan base coming, they have no way to detect it.
Now, back in competent times, the marketing department would be the one to see this coming. But Hollywood marketers are so Woke it isn’t possible. The belief system there appears to be, it’s a good thing if the fans are outraged. Getting people to pay attention to something is half the battle in an age where a TV series that ran for 15 years is still being found by people who had never even heard of it. The new Woke version of the old thing will get good reviews (true) and attract new, younger fans that haven’t been caught on the “wrong side of history” (Reylos and Stans). The problem is there is never anywhere near enough Reylos and Stans to support a franchise.
Interestingly, they are still concerned about negative press but only from the mainstream media. They are unable to process the fact that fan media is a power in its own right and so far it has defied attempts by the Club to control it. They will buy up a successful fan media outlet, turn it into a shill site and the fans immediately walk away. Clownfish TV gets more views than Nerdist these days.
Rotten Tomatoes will play games at the studio insistence to try and invalidate negative fan responses. I can only assume this is to comfort members of the Club because it never moves the needle with fans, in fact, this does the opposite, creating even more resentment.
Kurtzman’s contract extension isn’t the result of a strategy, it’s the result of an echo chamber. Covid forced everyone to retreat back from society in general. Covid acted as a reinforcer to everyone’s echo chambers, this explains in part the hard lurch to the Left the traditional elites had last summer.
But this also explains why decisions like extending Kurtzman’s contract happen.
So is there any hope for Star Trek?
It’s dead Jim.