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Wednesday, November 22, 2017, 10:51 a.m.

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The TV Column

Discovery apparently a success as CBS streamer

By Michael Storey

This article was published November 9, 2017 at 1:56 a.m.

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The CBS All Access series Star Trek: Discovery stars James Frain as Ambassador Sarek and Sonequa Martin-Green as First Officer Michael Burnham.

So, is CBS' strategy to lure viewers to its streaming service working? Yes. Well, maybe. It's hard to tell.

The network recently gave the green light for a second season of Star Trek: Discovery. That's the network's prequel to the iconic series that debuted Sept. 24, then moved over exclusively to CBS All Access where Trekkies must pay to view.

The plan was to roll out the 15-episode first season in two parts. Part 1 ended Sunday and Part 2 will pick up in January.

The network's goal is to counter the growing trend of viewers cutting the cable and getting their TV needs directly from streaming services. The trend, especially among millennials, has led to the rise of such streaming powerhouses as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Others in the growing mix include Acorn, DirecTV Now, Sling TV, HBO Now, PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV.

Star Trek: Discovery was intended to sweeten the CBS All Access pot. Besides Discovery, subscribers get all the regular CBS programs (plus back episodes), as well as live programming streams of local CBS affiliates in 124 markets. The fee is $6 a month with ads, or $10 ad-free.

Discovery is set about a decade before the events of the original series (1966-69) and follows the adventures of Starfleet officer Michael Burnham (The Walking Dead's Sonequa Martin-Green) as she serves aboard the USS Discovery after the outbreak of war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire.

The critically acclaimed pilot brought in an impressive 9.6 million viewers before the series disappeared behind the CBS All Access pay wall, where ratings and numbers aren't revealed. CBS did boast that after the pilot, the streaming service set a single-day record for sign-ups. Whatever that means.

Following the second season announcement, The Washington Post noted Discovery "is too big to fail." The network has already spent a reported $120 million on the first season, making a second season -- no matter what the numbers -- a certainty.

Where's Ten Days? I know. I know. I love Kyra Sedgwick, too. I watched every single episode of The Closer, but her star power wasn't enough to save her new ABC mystery, Ten Days in the Valley. Low ratings have sunk the series.

After four episodes, ABC pulled the show from the important Sunday lineup and will burn it off on little-watched Saturdays beginning at 8 p.m. Dec. 16 with two back-to-back episodes.

A new episode will air at 9 p.m. Dec. 23 and 30, then the two-hour series finale will bring the curtain down at 8 p.m. Jan. 6.

What do we mean by low ratings? Ten Days began with a disappointing 3.4 million total viewers and dropped to a dismal 2.2 million by its fourth episode. That'll get you canned on broadcast TV every time no matter who your star is.

Ten Days' old 8 p.m. Sunday slot is being filled with Shark Tank. A second new episode follows at 9.

House of Cards. In case you missed the memo, Netflix has canceled House of Cards. The sixth season, now in production, will be the last. The final 13 episodes are expected to stream in mid-2018.

The cancellation, Netflix insists, has nothing to do with star Kevin Spacey recently being accused of an unwanted sexual advance on actor Anthony Rapp in 1986. The streaming service says the decision to drop the lagging series was made months ago.

Rapp, who now stars in Star Trek Discovery, said the incident happened at a party at Spacey's New York apartment when he was 14 and Spacey was 26.

In response, Spacey tweeted he did not remember any such encounter and was "beyond horrified" to hear the story. He then added, "If I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."

Then, in the first public statement he has made about his sexuality, Spacey announced he was gay.

About Spacey's timing, a peeved GLAAD president Sarah Kate Ellis tweeted, "Coming out stories should not be used to deflect from allegations of sexual assault."

In 2013, House of Cards launched Netflix's roster of original programming and was an immediate success. The political thriller, co-starring Robin Wright, has been nominated for an Outstanding Drama Emmy every year since, but longtime fans have complained the show's quality has suffered the past couple of seasons.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 11/09/2017

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