New breaking developments on the behind-the-scenes staffing at STAR TREK: DISCOVERY have been revealed today by Variety, which reports that executive producer and up-until-now showrunner Bryan Fuller will be taking on a reduced role in the upcoming Trek television revival.
Fuller, who is currently hard at work running the production of his adaption of American Gods, will stay on as executive producer and will “still be involved in breaking stories,” per Variety, but will no longer be showrunner on DISCOVERY, instead handing over that position to producers Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts in a dual role. Each have been long-associated with DISCOVERY, and with previous Fuller-helmed projects.
— Bryan Fuller (@BryanFuller) October 27, 2016
Per Variety, some of this leadership flux is connected to the recent rescheduling of the series debut – from January to May 2017 – announced in September, which was deemed necessary due to an additional need for post-production, as well as a need for more time to cast the show’s lead roles:
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.
Sources said there had been some strain between “Star Trek” producer CBS Television Studios and Fuller over the progress of production on the show, as 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.
The new structure was worked out quickly over the weekend in an effort to allow Fuller to remain actively involved albeit not on the day-to-day production level as originally envisioned. There’s also some internal stress at the studio that the lead character, described by Fuller as a female lieutenant commander, has yet to be cast.
Sources emphasized that CBS execs have been happy with the material that Fuller has developed to date but became increasingly concerned that he had too much on his plate and there was no willingness to delay the premiere date once more.
Variety’s report also indicates that current estimates put each episode of DISCOVERY at about $6-7 Million in production costs, and that most roles – aside from the central character – have been cast at this point.
CBS Television Studios issued the following statement regarding this change in leadership on the upcoming series, emphasizing that Fuller’s creative input will continue:
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 & 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.
With more than six months to go until STAR TREK: DISCOVERY arrives on CBS All Access, it seems like there’s still some need to divert more power to the structural integrity of the production team.
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UPDATE: The original report of a $9 Million episodic budget was in Canadian dollars. We have updated this article to reflect a $6-7 Million USD value.