Alex Kurtzman to replace Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg as Star Trek: Discovery showrunner
James R | On 15, Jun 2018
It’s all change on the Bridge of Star Trek: Discovery once again, with Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg stepping down as showrunners on the sci-fi series.
CBS: All Access’ flagship drama has been a huge success for the streaming site, with Netflix picking up the rights internationally and a Season 1 finale teasing a link to the original Star Trek canon that has won over fans looking forward to more intergalactic adventures. (You can catch up with our reviews of Star Trek: Discovery Season 1 here.)
Bringing back the long-running franchise hasn’t been without its share of difficulties, though, with initial showrunner Bryan Fuller departing the project early on and leading to a six-month delay in production. Now, the series is about to change up its showrunner again, with Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg exiting their roles on the big-budget project.
While creative differences were one of the key causes of Fuller’s uncoupling, sources reportedly told THR that “budget woes and complaints of staff mistreatment” led to their departure. According to the anonymous insiders, the budget for Season 2’s opener overran, while Berg and Harberts reportedly became abusive towards to the writing staff, leaning across the table and shouting an expletive at one team member, leading to writers saying that they were uncomfortable working on the series. Harberts then reportedly threatened the staff to keep concerns as an internal matter, rather than reporting it to HR.
Now, Alex Kurtzman is stepping in to replace the duo. Kurtzman is no stranger to the franchise, having guided Star Trek: Discovery during its bumpy launch period and also several of the Star Trek movies. An exec producer on Discovery, he will take over as showrunner on Season 2 and also oversee the show’s writers room.
He steps in as production on Season 2’s first five episodes have almost completed, with Kurtzman taking over for Episode 6 onwards. Production is reportedly entering a planned hiatus after its fifth episode, which will give Kurtzman time to regroup the writing staff without production being impacted by the showrunner change.
Executive producer Akiva Goldsman, who served as Kurtzman’s right-hand man during Season 1, has also not returned to the project for its sophomore voyage. Goldsman was brought in to help build Discovery’s world, but the veteran producer’s management style reportedly clashed with the writers. It is not yet known whether Goldsman will be created as an executive producer on Season 2.
“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,” producers CBS Television Studios said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.