Star Trek: Discovery attempted to grab some new audience members by airing its first season on CBS. The series is about to premiere its third season on CBS All-Access – which will be transforming into Paramount+ within the next year – and it looks like the network thought airing the first season on television might help boost awareness and viewership for the show.
Unfortunately, Star Trek: Discovery did not exactly light the television ratings chart on fire. The premiere averaged 1.7 million viewers overall and only scored a 0.2 rating. That’s not great but it is even more disheartening when you see that it was beaten by reruns of shows like The Masked Singer and Filthy Rich. Not a particularly strong showing for the series.
There are a number of factors that could have affected this, but one that has to be considered is this: do people just not have a huge interest in Star Trek: Discovery? The show was launched as the new flagship series for the Star Trek franchise and was intended to be a big subscription seller for CBS All-Access. But, it doesn’t seem to have gotten the job done. And with Star Trek: Picard sounding like a potential flop for CBS All-Access, it’s looking like the current iteration of the Star Trek franchise is not speaking to wider audiences.
It is going to be interesting to follow Star Trek: Discovery as the rest of its first season plays out on CBS every week. How big will the dropoff in viewers be? Will it be able to maintain a steady audience in broadcast? Most shows either see a significant fall in viewers over the course of a season, or they see fairly consistent numbers that indicate a loyal audience. If Star Trek: Discovery can obtain that through this first season airing on television, it could sway the studio’s feelings about the show’s future.
However, this initial start does not bode well for the future of Star Trek: Discovery. Since streaming companies have no obligation to share user data with consumers, we don’t know what level of popularity the show has maintained on CBS All-Access. Airing the first season on CBS might be a way for the company to gauge if there is a substantial enough audience to make this show for. If the numbers continue to plummet significantly on CBS, perhaps that will spell doom for Star Trek: Discovery in total.
It’s a shame that CBS didn’t decide to do the same tactic with Star Trek: Lower Decks as that show is the best piece of Star Trek canon since Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Instead, television audiences are being subjected to the sound and fury of Star Trek: Discovery. If audiences begin to believe that this new Star Trek show on TV is representative of the franchise as a whole, they might become even more turned off at the prospect of Star Trek. Let’s hope things turn out for the best in all of this. It would be a shame if Star Trek: Discovery ends up hurting the potential future of the franchise.