Paramount+, the name replacing CBS All Access, is gearing up to launch on March 4th. As part of the ViacomCBS family, Paramount+ can offer content from CBS, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, MTV, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, PopTV, and the CW, and the company is offering tiers starting in the low-to-mid range when compared to other services. The streaming war is still in the early stages, and while Netflix and Hulu have substantial followings, newcomer Disney+ has already attracted close to 100M subscribers worldwide. The sudden success of Disney+ proves that viewers will consider adding another subscription service, if the content is there.
“Star Trek” is one of the platform’s leading franchises, and Paramount+ is launching an animated kids’ series called “Star Trek: Prodigy” in 2021 to introduce the brand to tiny viewers. Developed and produced by Nickelodeon and CBS Studios, the story follows six young outcasts after they commandeer a Starfleet ship. The series joins “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Star Trek: Picard,” the animated comedy series “Star Trek: Lower Decks,” and the upcoming new series “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.” The platform also offers all 726 episodes from the six classic Star Trek series and a selection of Star Trek films. “Star Trek: Strange New Worlds” is based on the years Captain Christopher Pike manned the helm of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The series will feature fan favorites from season two of DISCOVERY, Anson Mount as Captain Christopher Pike, Rebecca Romijn as Number One and Ethan Peck as Science Officer Spock. The series will follow Captain Pike, Science Officer Spock and Number One in the decade before Captain Kirk boarded the U.S.S. Enterprise,as they explore new worlds around the galaxy.
“In three years, we’ve expanded the Star Trek Universe to new heights, creating five original series – each with its own unique storytelling and distinct cinematic feel,” said Alex Kurtzman, Executive Producer Star Trek Universe. “We’re so excited to partner with Dan and Kevin Hageman and the team at Nickelodeon for Star Trek: Prodigy as we bring Trek to a new generation of younger fans with an animated series as rich in character and scope as our live action shows. I’m thrilled audiences of all ages now have instant access to the full Trek library, classic and new original series, on our new home at Paramount+.”
“When Star Trek: Discovery first premiered, we knew we had the beginning of something special,” said Julie McNamara, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, Paramount+. “Over three years later, we are thrilled that Paramount+ will serve as the streaming home of the Star Trek Universe, with an unparalleled existing and expanding library of Trek content. The upcoming addition of Star Trek: Prodigy to Paramount+ means subscribers now have a Trek series for every member of the family – including kids. We are excited to bring this next chapter to a new generation of Trek fans alongside the creative masterminds behind Secret Hideout and Nickelodeon, as well as the talented Kevin and Dan Hageman.”
“Debuting Prodigy on Paramount+ alongside the complete Star Trek universe points to our strategy of growing Nickelodeon’s reach by expanding our top franchises and diving deeper into their worlds and their characters and stories,” said Ramsey Naito, President, Nickelodeon Animation. “And on top of having great characters, and absolutely gorgeous animation, PRODIGY shows how the ViacomCBS brands can come together to make great, compelling content that appeals to both new audiences and long-time super fans. We’re incredibly proud of this series and we’re looking forward to building its audience across the Paramount+ and Nickelodeon platforms.”
Parmount+ has other coals in the fire that it isn’t ready to debut just yet. The “CSI: Criminal Minds” team is expected to return for a series that focuses on a single crime per season, and the limited series about the making of “The Godfather” trilogy is also in the works. A new adaption of “Love Story,” made famous by Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, is also in pre production, as well as a prequel to the hit musical “Grease.” The “Halo” series, based on the iconic game franchise, is also expected to jump from Showtime to Paramount+ on release day.
In partnership with Nickelodeon, the SpongeBob franchise is also headed to Paramount+ next month. The first six episodes of the prequel series “Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years” will be available to stream beginning on March 4th, exclusively on the platform. The rest of the season’s 13-episode order will roll out on the platform at later dates to be announced. The CG-animated prequel series follows 10-year-old SpongeBob SquarePants and his pals during summer sleepaway camp.
SpongeBob isn’t the only kid-friendly destination on the platform, and Paramount+ is working on a “Rugrats” reboot, as well as new content from “Avatar” to entertain the tiniest viewers. Paramount+ is also reportedly working on an “iCarly” sequel, bringing the gang back together.
MTV confirmed earlier this month that a “The Real World: Homecoming” reunion special would air on Paramount+, and will premiere on March 4th. The multi-episode docu-series brings together the seven original strangers from Season 1 (Becky Blasband, Andre Comeau, Heather B. Gardner, Julie Gentry, Norman Korpi, Eric Nies, and Kevin Powell) to find out how the series transformed their lives since the cameras stopped rolling. MTV is also working on a new version of the “The Game” with BET, and new “Behind the Music” episodes.
ViacomCBS already has a strong unscripted slate, which could help draw viewers to the platform through 2021 and beyond. Along with “The Real World,” Paramount+ can quickly become the go-to source to watch “Love & Hip Hop,” “Love Island,” “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” “The Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “The Challenge,” “Big Brother” and “Jersey Shore” for millions of cord-cutters.
Original scripted content is still key, and ViacomCBS has already confirmed a mix of old and new series. The seventh and final season of Darren Star’s hit “Younger” will screen on Paramount+, and according to the company’s announcement, fans will get early access to the final season before it airs on TV Land later this year. The first six seasons are currently available to stream on the service. “Younger” follows Liza Miller (Sutton Foster), a talented editor navigating the highly competitive world of publishing while juggling the complications of mixing business with pleasure, and facing the lie she created about her age to land her dream job.
“With ‘Younger,’ Darren Star has done it once again, creating a generational defining series that has captured millions of fans who are craving more, and we are excited to pay that off with the final season on Paramount+,” said Chris McCarthy, President, MTV Entertainment Group.
“Frasier” is also returning, with an all-new series. Kelsey Grammer will reprise his role as Dr. Frasier Crane in the new original comedy series and will executive produce along with writers Chris Harris and Joe Cristalli, and Grammnet Productions Tom Russo and Jordan McMahon. The series will be produced by CBS Studios in association with Grammnet Productions, exclusively for Paramount+.
“Having spent over 20 years of my creative life on the Paramount lot, both producing shows and performing in several, I’d like to congratulate Paramount+ on its entry into the streaming world,” said Grammer. “I gleefully anticipate sharing the next chapter in the continuing journey of Dr. Frasier Crane.”
“Frasier is one of the most acclaimed comedies in modern television history and truly defines premium storytelling,” said David Stapf, President of CBS Studios. “There has long been a call from fans for its return, and that call is now answered thanks to the amazing Kelsey Grammer reprising his iconic role of Dr. Frasier Crane and a brilliant creative plan from Joe, Chris, and Kelsey. We can’t wait to reveal its next chapter on Paramount +.”
Paramount Pictures hopes to have their films on the platform forty-five days after premiering in theaters. This includes upcoming hits like “A Quiet Place Part II” and the new “Mission Impossible” movies, offering a go-to source for new content throughout the year.
All of this content, with more to be announced, will be part of the Paramount+ platform. Viewers can choose between an ad-support that offers Paramount movies, originals, and most of the streaming library for $4.99/month. The premium tier adds live sports, news, and TV for $9.99/month. Paramount+ will have to compete with Disney’s Hulu/ESPN/Disney+ bundle in pricing and content, but the $4.99/month tier offers a reasonable trial for tempted viewers.