StarTrek.com Hangs In the Balance As CBS and Viacom SplitBy Michelle
December 6, 2005 - 8:59 PM
Tim Gaskill, editorial director at the official Star Trek web site, has sent out an e-mail to people involved with Star Trek to alert them that Paramount Digital Entertainment will be shut down at the end of the year, leaving the fate of StarTrek.com in limbo.
"As if we needed further reminding that the fate of Star Trek is a tenuous one at best, it has been announced that Paramount Digital Entertainment, the home to STARTREK.COM since 1996, is shutting its doors as of 12/31/05," Gaskill wrote to current and former Paramount and Star Trek staffers. "Rather than go quietly, we are in the midst of preparing a presentation for the powers-that-be designed to show the vast scope and depth to the site, and how it is a 'go to' site for anyone in the world in search of Star Trek information."
Gaskill noted that the split of Viacom and CBS had cost many jobs on the Paramount lot. Moreover, he explained that the division of the giant media corporation had not yet settled Star Trek with either Paramount Pictures or the television production division: "We think CBS will be taking it over. (Even though it will be forever identified as a Paramount product.) As a result of this lack of clarification on the ownership of the franchise, the fate of STARTREK.COM also hangs in the balance."
Gaskill asked people involved with Star Trek whether they would be willing to write testimonials on behalf of StarTrek.com to use in the presentation to try to preserve the web site. "It would be very gratefully received," he said, admitting that his own job, which has included recording commentary for podcasts, is one that will terminate at the end of 2005 unless new plans are made for the site.
"This is a great franchise and it would be sad to see it sink into an abyss of lost TV and movie franchises. I would like to think that we could do better...STARTREK.COM is used not only by fans of the show, but by licensees to promote their products, various Paramount departments (including production), convention organizers, news organizations, advertisers, etc." Gaskill concluded, saying that the site's value for the franchise and the studio would be difficult to assess.