Star Trek: Discovery changes showrunners yet again

No, dear reader, you aren't suffering from a sci-fi series-centric case of déjà vu – Star Trek: Discovery really did lose its showrunners for a second time, tapping someone already involved in the show to replace them. 

The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed that Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts have exited as showrunners of Star Trek: Discovery, and that executive producer Alex Kurtzman will take over. 

CBS Television Studios producers broke the news on Thursday in a statement given to the outlet: "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."

Berg and Harberts originally stepped in to replace Bryan Fuller, who dipped out of the series following a reported string of creative differences, the most notable of which being Fuller's desire to craft Star Trek: Discovery as a sci-fi anthology series that would start with Discovery (which is a prequel), later explore the later eras of the franchise's history, and finally venture into the future. Fuller once noted that the "original pitch" for the series was "to do for science-fiction what American Horror Story had done for horror." At the time, Fuller was also working on adapting Neil Gaiman's American Gods for the small screen. Seemingly a creature of habit, Fuller dropped out as showrunner of that project as well.

THR's report implies that CBS actually asked Berg and Harberts to leave, but the studio's "decision to oust" them wasn't due to creative differences like it was in Fuller's case. Rather, sources close to the outlet note that "leadership and operational issues" as well as a ballooning budget and unexpected overages are to blame. 

But that isn't all: Apparently, Berg and Harberts became "increasingly abusive to the Discovery writing staff," with Harberts reportedly having stretched himself across a table in the writers room "while shouting an expletive at a member of the show's staff." It's said that multiple Star Trek: Discovery writers have expressed their discomfort working on the series, have contemplated filing complaints against Berg and Harberts, and have even threatened to quit.

The first five episodes of Star Trek: Discovery season 2 are almost complete, and Kurtzman is expected to take over as showrunner beginning with the sixth episode. (Berg and Harberts will likely still receive credit for the episodes that they oversaw as showrunners.) 

This showrunner switch-up will also have Kurtzman oversee the writers room for season 2, and if the reports of Berg and Harberts' behavior are legitimate, Kurtzman's presence amongst the writing staff will hopefully provide them a bit of reprieve. 

Though it's been stressed that production on the series isn't expected to be affected by the showrunner change, nothing is certain when it comes to Star Trek: Discovery – especially when it's this hard to keep track of to who's really in charge.