Star Trek: Discovery changes showrunners again; Alex Kurtzman takes over

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Star Trek: Discovery is changing showrunners, with Alex Kurtzman replacing Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts in the captain’s chair. This is the show’s second significant staffing shuffle; the first one occurred when Bryan Fuller stepped away after shooting the pilot, which opened the door for Berg and Harberts to come in.

But, going forward, it will now be Kurtzman calling the shots. Kurtzman served as an executive producer on the show’s first season, and he also worked behind the scenes on Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek (the 2009 relaunch).

The Hollywood Reporter broke the news, sharing this statement from CBS Television Studios:

“We’ve made some producer changes at Star Trek: Discovery. The series continues under the creative vision and leadership of executive producer and co-creator Alex Kurtzman. Discovery remains on course for season two in 2019 with new and continuing stories that build on its successful premiere season”

Sources close to the production of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 apparently told THR that Berg and Harberts had already overseen the first five episodes of the show’s sophomore season, and they will get credited for this work. Kurtzman will take over from episode 6 onwards.

As for the reasons behind Berg and Harbert’s departure, THR’s sources told them that the budget “ballooned” for the show’s season 2 premiere and that “operational” issues did play a part in this behind-the-scenes reshuffle. However, later in the article, THR’s sources suggest that there is a lot more to this personnel change than merely getting the budget and production back on track.

Here’s a segment of THR’s article that is troubling to read:

“Insiders also stress that Berg and Harberts became increasingly abusive to the Discovery writing staff, with Harberts said to have leaned across the writers room table while shouting an expletive at a member of the show’s staff. Multiple writers are said to have been uncomfortable working on the series and had threatened to file a complaint with human resources or quit the series altogether before informing Kurtzman of the issues surrounding Berg and Harberts. After hearing rumors of HR complaints, Harberts is said to have threatened the staff to keep concerns with the production an internal matter.”

It seems that a short, planned hiatus will now take place – between the production of episode 5 and episode 6 – which will allow Kurtzman to steady the ship and regroup.

We’ll bring you more Star Trek: Discovery news as we hear it. Our thoughts go out to any members of the crew that have not been having a pleasant time of late. Here’s hoping Kurtzman can build a better environment for the crew, and lead the show forward in a better way.