They have made it so: CBS and Viacom have finalized their planned merger.
Variety reports that the deal was completed today, and that Viacom and CBS will merge into an entity known as "ViacomCBS." Paramount Pictures falls under the umbrella of Viacom, so it will now join the cable channels MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and BET together with CBS assets, which include Showtime and, of course, the streamer CBS All Access.
The combined company will be led by Viacom CEO Bob Bakish, who is quoted as saying, “I can’t wait to get on with this. It’s been a long and winding road to get here. It’s an incredible collection of assets.”
For lack of a better way to say it, why should genre fans care? One reason sticks out, and it's the size of a battered Cardassian space station — the merger means big things for Star Trek.
Whereas the movies and television sides of the Trek universe had once been somewhat connected (Admiral Janeway appearing in Star Trek: Nemesis, for example), those connections ended when Paramount and CBS broke apart years ago. Because of this, the television side of Trek (all featured now on CBS All Access) and the movie side of things (the "Kelvin timeline" films from J.J. Abrams, and others) have been kept apart. Even if there was a great idea for a character from Star Trek: Discovery to show up in a film, it would not have been possible.
Until now, that is. Now, characters and events from the Kelvin timeline have complete freedom to intertwine with television, and vice-versa. Additionally, characters that have shown up on television of late and are quite popular (Anson Mount's Captain Pike and crew) could theoretically have potential to show up in films, or even have a film all to themselves.
The adventures of Captain Picard and all the rest from Star Trek: The Next Generation made the leap to the big screen before the parting of the ways — and the way is now clear for them to return at some point, or for anyone else from Trek TV to return as well. A Worf movie? Sure! An epic Deep Space Nine cinematic revival? Why not! Every Trek doctor, Ethan Peck's Spock, and the dog from Enterprise mixing it up in the Kelvin timeline on the big screen? Weird ... but if they wanted to, they could do it.
Further details of this merger (and any further plans for Trek) will likely be coming in the next few months, but fans can take solace that the universes of Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, Burnham, and the rest are united once more. There will continue to always be possibilities, as Spock might say.