More Fallout From Fuller’s “Discovery” Exit

Further details are out following “Hannibal” and “Pushing Daises” alum Bryan Fuller’s stepping back as showrunner on CBS All Access’ flagship new series “Star Trek: Discovery”.

As previously reported, Fuller penned the two-hour pilot and will remain an executive producer and still spearheading the season-long story arc. The decision was made late last week though to hand day-to-day showrunning reins to fellow executive producers Gretchen Berg, Aaron Harberts and Alex Kurtzman.

Now though it seems someone else is helping out with Variety reporting that Akiva Goldsman, who previously worked with Kurtzman on FOX’s “Fringe,” is coming onboard. Goldsman will serve as producing support to help with the demands of a series that CBS is hoping will be a marquee selling point for subscriptions to its CBS All Access SVOD service.

There’s plenty of money at stake too with word that the show’s budget will be in the $6-7 million per episode range, about the same as the early few seasons of HBO’s fantasy epic “Game of Thrones”.

Fuller’s departure is due to strain between “Star Trek” producer CBS Television Studios and Fuller over the progress of production as Fuller is also juggling the final weeks of shooting and post-production duties on Starz’s “American Gods” along with prepping NBC’s reboot of “Amazing Stories”.

Sources for the trade stress Fuller remains actively involved albeit not on the day-to-day production level, and CBS has been happy with the material he’s developed for the show to date. Production on the series is scheduled to start in Toronto next month but the lead character, a female lieutenant commander, has yet to be cast.

Despite the smiling faces from corporate, reaction to Fuller’s semi-exit has been met with swift and negative reaction from the fanbase on various comment boards. Fuller got his start in TV with his work on “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine” and “Star Trek: Voyager,” and was seen as not only a creative wunderkid but a true ‘Trek’ fan who gets how the franchise works on television.

With him seen as being ‘out’, criticisms on social media and the Trek fan boards have suggested those left will lose his vision, especially Kurtzman who has only been involved in the rebooted films which have been slammed by the fanbase due to their closer resemblance to “Star Wars” than anything “Star Trek”.

Combined with the acknowledged fumbling of the franchise’s 50th anniversary, ‘Discovery’ was already being held up as a potential franchise restorer (ala “Skyfall” and Bond) whilst taking the material in all new directions (like Fuller did with “Hannibal”). That hope may not be entirely gone, but now seems to have dimmed considerably.