‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Fires Showrunners After Allegations of Verbal Abuse, Alex Kurtzman To Take Over
Star Trek: Discovery has changed hands once again, but this time it wasn’t over creative differences. Before the CBS All Access show even debuted last year, Bryan Fuller exited as showrunner (or as reports put it, was “pushed out“) after many supposed disagreements over production and budget decisions. Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts soon took over showrunning duties for the series, but now both have been fired after complaints of verbal abuse in the writers room and an inflated budget.
A new report from The Hollywood Reporter details the firing. Executive producer Alex Kurtzman, who’s been a part of the Star Trek franchise since J.J. Abrams’ 2009 film, will take over as showrunner following Berg and Harberts. But the piece reveals this reshuffling wasn’t just another matter of creative clashes and disagreements, as was allegedly the case with Fuller. The firing was a result of “leadership and operational issues,” including allegations of verbal abuse.
The trade notes that the pair of showrunners had reportedly become “increasingly abusive” to the writers staff, with multiple Discovery writers claiming they were uncomfortable working on the series and threatened to file complains with HR. In one instance, Harberts allegedly leaned across the writers room table while “shouting an expletive at a member of the show’s staff.” Harberts reportedly threatened his staff to keep their concerns internal when he heard rumors of potential HR complaints floating around. The abusive behavior isn’t the only issue. The Season 2 premiere was apparently so over budget that overages may come out of future episodes.
So far Harberts and Berg have neared completion on the first five episodes of the new season. The show will take a planned production hiatus so Kurtzman can regroup before taking over on episode six and beyond. But he also won’t have his usual right-hand man, Akiva Goldsmith. The executive producer, who also directed the Season 1 finale, has apparently left the series as well for having a “management style and personality that clashed with the writing staff.”
Star Trek: Discovery just can’t seem to catch a break. But despite the changes, the shakeup isn’t expected to delay the Season 2 premiere, set for sometime next year.