Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

With corporate mergers, acquisitions, and splits, the Star Trek franchise has had several different owners in its history. Creator Gene Roddenberry lost all rights and title to his creation, save for his "created by" credit, the moment he sold his Star Trek is... pitch to Desilu Studios in April 1964, as was customary in the television industry at the time.

Desilu (1964 – 1967)
The first franchise owner, the Lucille Ball-owned studio Desilu, produced the two Trek pilots "The Cage" and "Where No Man Has Gone Before" in 1964 and 1965 respectively, and began to produce Star Trek: The Original Series in 1966.
Paramount Television, Paramount Pictures, Gulf+Western (1967 – 1989)
Gulf and Western Industries, more commonly known as Gulf+Western, acquired Desilu in 1967 and named it Paramount Television by merging it with Paramount Pictures' own, hitherto rather insignificant, television division. Gulf+Western, owned by the Bluhdorn family, had already acquired Paramount Pictures the year previously. The original series shared a joint Paramount Television/Desilu copyright in the latter half of the second season, and went under the Paramount Television logo and copyright in the third season.
In 19731974, Paramount Television licensed Filmation to produce Star Trek: The Animated Series, but asserted ownership as the both the distributor and franchise owner. Paramount Pictures began producing and distributing Star Trek films in 1978. After a false start in 1977 with Star Trek: Phase II, Paramount Television began producing Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987.
Paramount Pictures, Paramount Television, Paramount Communications (1989 – 1994)
Gulf+Western reorganized in 1989, sold off most of its non-communications holdings, and renamed itself Paramount Communications. It continued to hold Paramount Television, which continued to produce TNG and began producing Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in 1993, and Paramount Pictures, which continued to produce Star Trek films.
Paramount Television / CBS Paramount Television, Paramount Pictures, (old) Viacom (1971 – 2005), National Amusements (1994 – 2005)
Paramount Communications was purchased in 1994 by the old Viacom, a National Amusements subsidiary since 1987. In 2000 Viacom purchased (the original) CBS Studios, Inc. and merged their studio operations with Paramount Television, becoming CBS Paramount Television, remaining a dependency of Paramount Pictures as it had before. During Viacom's ownership, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise were produced, while Deep Space Nine continued to be produced until its conclusion in 1999. Paramount Pictures continued to produce Star Trek films.
Television – CBS Paramount Network Television / CBS Television Distribution / CBS Studios, CBS Paramount Television / CBS Television Studios, CBS Corporation, National Amusements (2006 – 2019)
Viacom was split in late 2005 into two separate publicly traded corporations, becoming effective on 17 January 2006. The old Viacom then became CBS Corporation. CBS Paramount Television, previously a combined and dependent holding, was on the same occasion broken up into its constituent parts as separate, independent corporate entities (meaning, each division having its own profitability responsibility). The three now separated parts consisted of the distributor CBS Paramount Network Television (taking over distribution of past Star Trek shows), the television production company CBS Paramount Television – for the time being retaining the original combination name until rechristened CBS Television Studios in 2009 – and the broadcaster CBS Broadcasting. The latter became in the process formally the third franchise owner, when it was appointed the titular holder of all rights and title to the entirety of the Star Trek franchise. In early 2008 CBS Paramount Network Television had already been renamed to CBS Television Distribution, and was in the same year absorbed in CBS Studios, partially reversing the 2005 breakup of the original television unit. Star Trek: Discovery and beyond are produced under the auspices of the production company CBS Television Studios.
Films and Home Video Formats – Paramount Pictures, (new) Viacom (2006 – 2019), National Amusements (2006 – 2019)
In the 2005 Viacom/CBS split, the old Viacom became the CBS Corporation and a new Viacom was created. This new company owned Paramount Pictures, which in turn owns the rights to the first ten Star Trek films in full. Paramount Pictures conceived and produced a new re-imagined Star Trek film franchise in the form of the three alternate reality films Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, and Star Trek Beyond under a license from CBS Broadcasting, but only owns the rights to these in part. Paramount also continues to distribute DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of the older TV series on behalf of CBS, though now merely receiving a compensation for their services from CBS as of 2006, contrary to the pre-split situation when they were entitled to the full proceeds – and contrary to those of the first ten films, the proceeds of which Paramount is still fully entitled to. For Discovery and beyond however, CBS is the sole distributor of the resultant home video formats.
The split marked the occasion that the former (CBS) Paramount Television was formally separated from Paramount Pictures; up until that point in time the television division had always been a (combined) subsidiary dependency of Paramount Pictures. The loss of its television operations also meant the loss of the Star Trek franchise, ending the four-decades-long formal association between Star Trek and Paramount, the latter in essence becoming a mere Star Trek subcontractor.
The legality and formality of the 2005 split notwithstanding though, during this period both CBS Corporation and (new) Viacom remained subjugated to the "controlling interests" (industry euphemism for de facto ownership) of holding company National Amusements (NAI). It was therefore National Amusements – or rather its full owner, to wit, the Redstone family – which was and still is the legal end owner of the entire Star Trek franchise, as it has been ever since the former Viacom acquired Paramount in 1994.
Current CEO and (co-)owner Sheri Redstone had never been in favor of the old Viacom split that her father Sumner had engineered, along with Les Moonves. On 9 September 2018, Moonves was ousted from his position as chief executive of CBS after accusations of sexual misconduct. [1] On 13 August 2019, CBS and Viacom jointly announced that they would merge into a new corporation called ViacomCBS, reunifying the film and television sides of the Star Trek franchise. [2]
ViacomCBS, CBS Broadcasting, CBS Studios, Paramount Pictures, National Amusements, Paramount Global (2019 – )
After the merger of CBS and Viacom was approved by regulators and finalized, all Star Trek television and film production are once again under a single corporate owner. The remerger was officially effectuated on 4 December 2019. [3]
On 8 October 2020 ViacomCBS revamped and consolidated its brand identity across its various platforms and divisions. One of the major changes was that CBS renamed its Television Studios unit as CBS Studios. [4]
On 16 February 2022, ViacomCBS chair Shari Redstone and CEO Bob Bakish rebranded the company as Paramount Global, or simply Paramount. [5] [6]