Star Trek Discovery Showrunners Fired

Star Trek: Discovery is making some changes behind the scenes, with showrunning team Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts being removed from the series and replaced with executive producer Alex Kurtzman.

The change in leadership in the second season of Star Trek: Discovery comes after a number of issues kept arising with the showrunner duo. First, the second season premiere went way over budget and needed to be paid for with money intended for episodes later in the season. But the real issue is that Berg and Harberts apparently become “increasingly abusive” with their writing staff.

The report of the showrunners being fired comes from The Hollywood Reporter. THR reports that Harberts leaned across the writers room table to shout an expletive at one of the writers and has been trying to keep the staff from complaining to human resources about it. The report explains:

“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.”

Well, that’s not how a writing staff is supposed to work at all. I don’t know where people get the inclination to think this kind of behavior is acceptable, but this is not an appropriate way to act in the workplace. Sure, working on a high profile network television show comes with pressure and stress, but you don’t alleviate that stress by yelling at the people who are helping you get the show done week in and week out. That’s only going to exacerbate the situation.

The removal of Berg and Harberts is the second showrunner replacement to happen on Star Trek: Discovery after Bryan Fuller exited the series before the first season even aired. The executive producer kept clashing with CBS over everything from casting to directors to costumes and more. That’s why the series ended up being delayed twice. But it sounds like they’ve got the right person in control of the ship now.

Star Trek Discovery Showrunners Fired - Alex Kurtzman

Alex Kurtzman Takes Over, Akiva Goldsman Not Returning

Alex Kurtzman has been an executive producer on Star Trek: Discovery since the beginning, and he’s even credited as a co-creator of the show. He will be overseeing the writers room after the show takes what is said to be a planned production hiatus after the fifth episode is complete. This is when Kurtzman will get together with the writing staff, regroup, and help everyone move on.

Kurtzman shouldn’t have any problem keeping the show going strong. Not only did he direct the series premiere, but he also wrote and produced the feature films Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. That might not be pleasing to some Star Trek fans (Into Darkness is especially controversial), but since he’s been a big part of Star Trek: Discovery since the show’s inception, it sounds like there shouldn’t be much to complain about.

However, one person who won’t be along for the ride is Akiva Goldsman. The executive producer is not returning for the second season, despite working closely with Kurtzman during the first season. Goldsman was a key part of the first season, even directing the season finale, but THR has sources saying Goldsman “had a management style and personality that clashed with the writing staff.”

Hopefully, all these changes behind the scenes doesn’t derail Star Trek: Discovery from the satisfying trajectory the show has been on for CBS and fans who have come to embrace the new Federation crew and their exploits across the final frontier.

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