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At 50, Original Series Still Drives Star Trek Licensing

The original Star Trek series debuted on Sept. 8, 1966 and aired for only three seasons. Fifty years later it’s hard to believe that the show had such a short run, given the influence it has had on the entertainment landscape, spawning five more TV series and 13 feature films, and licensing.

The latest franchise film, Star Trek Beyond, will premiere at this month’s fan-frenzied Comic-Con International in San Diego before opening in theaters around the world. A new TV Star Trek will launch with a special preview broadcast on CBS TV in early 2017, with all subsequent first-run episodes available exclusively in the U.S. on CBS All Access, the network’s digital subscription service.

Yet despite this new production activity, the many generations of the property and the short run of the original Star Trek, the licensing emphasis remains on the classic Star Trek property, sources tell TLL.

Licensed products tied to this year’s 50th anniversary of Star Trek include Star Trek: The Cruise, set to sail in January 2017 with no less than the original Captain Kirk, William Shatner, on board and a pair of Star Build-A-Bears, including a Spock Bear.

Other licenses announced by CBS Consumer Products just prior to last month’s Licensing Expo have a definite 1966 vibe, including adult coloring books (Dark Horse Comics), arcade games (Dave & Buster’s), sewing patterns (Simplicity Creative Group), Colorforms, U.S. coins and stamps (First Commemorative Mint), die-cast figures (Jada Group) and tin vehicles (Acme Trading Co.). Major League Baseball teams including the Boston Red Sox and Miami Marlins will also host Star Trek nights throughout the season.

Licensees and fans have sometimes bemoaned the fact that Star Trek’s licensing has not been as extensive as some other properties, but with the 50th anniversary efforts the classic property is likely to be merchandised more boldly than it has before.


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