halle berryThe fairytale ride of sci-fi spec Extantcontinues. After snagging one of the biggest commitments this season, a 13-episode straight to series orderfrom CBS for next summer, the project has landed Oscar winner Halle Berry as the lead in her first series regular role in a quarter-century. Additionally, Berry and her producing partner, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, have entered into a two-year, first-look production deal with CBS TV Studios.

Extant, from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and CBS Studios, centers on an astronaut (Berry) who returns home from a year-long solo mission in space and tries to reconnect with her husband and son in their everyday life. Her experiences in space and home lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history. “There’s only one Halle Berry and we are incredibly honored that she has chosen Extant to expand her illustrious career,” Spielberg said. “As she does with everything she touches, she will bring a deep authenticity to her role and I very much look forward to working with her.” Added CBS Entertainment president Nina Tassler, “Halle is the type of award-winning actress you dream of collaborating with for an event project such as Extant.

Landing Berry represents a major coup for CBS as the actress has been wooed to do series for years but had turned down every project to date, including Showtime’s Homeland and CBS’ Hostages last season. “I’m always on the lookout for amazing roles and when you see material that contains this strong of auspices, nuance and complexity it compels me to run toward it no matter the medium,” Berry said. “For five months a year I’ll get to live with and play this incredibly intelligent and vulnerable woman, and for the remainder of the year I’ll continue to look for other roles that move me as deeply as this one.” In addition to her Oscar for Monster’s Ball, Berry, repped by Vincent Cirrincione and CAA, won an Emmy for her starring role in the HBO movie Introducing Dorothy Dandridge. Extant is executive produced by Spielberg, showrunner Greg Walker, creator Mickey Fisher, Brooklyn Weaver, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Adam Rodin is co-producing the project.

Source: Deadline

After making waves in the marketplace, the sci-fi drama spec Extant from new writer Mickey Fisher and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television has landed at CBS with a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes to air next summer. On CBS, Extant will join another serialized sci-fi drama from Amblin TV, Under The Dome, which was recently renewed for next summer after a breakout freshman run. Broadcast, basic and premium cable networks were all heavily pursuing Extant, which hit the market a couple of weeks ago. Most suitors offered production commitments, making the choice difficult, with the producers mulling whether to go lighter with the material on broadcast or darker on cable. I hear the winning pitch by CBS’ Nina Tassler was that the network successfully launched Amblin’s Under The Dome, which also was a 13-episode straight-to-series order, and that Extant could be paired with the Stephen King adaptation to form a Steven Spielberg night.Extant, which CBS TV Studios will co-produce with Amblin TV, is a futuristic thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space. Her experiences lead to events that ultimately will change the course of human history. “Extant is a very original concept with layers of humanity, mystery and surprise that reveal itself throughout the script,” Tassler said. “Our partnership with Amblin for Under The Dome showed that viewers respond to high-quality event programming in the summer. We look forward to building on that withExtant and offering CBS audiences another high-concept, unique event for summer television.”

Spielberg, who not always lends his name to Amblin series, is executive producingExtant with Greg Walker, who serves as showrunner, Fisher, Fisher’s manager Brooklyn Weaver and Amblin TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Adam Rodin will co-produce. The series, which was packaged and sold by WME, will be distributed worldwide by CBS Studios International. Like Under The Dome, which streams on Amazon four days after the CBS premiere, Extant will likely too get a short-window digital distribution deal.

Source: Deadline

Overnight, Mickey Fisher has become the toast of TV development season. The unknown writer is behind Extant, a sci-fi drama spec script that is sparking one of the biggest bidding wars in recent years. “Everyone wants it,” one observer said. “And I mean everybody.” The sci-fi/family drama, from Amblin Television, is a rare property that has virtually all networks — broadcast, basic and premium cable — interested and ready to open their wallets. The winner is expected to dig deep as the spec is expected to fetch some sort of production commitment, with a straight-to-series order a possibility. Extant, which has Vegas co-creator/executive producer Greg Walker on board as executive producer/showrunner, is about a couple with a human-like android son created by the dad and another child, possibly an alien, on the way. Despite its high-concept premise, the script is very grounded and is getting rave reviews from industry types who have read it. Extant has been making waves ever since it first surfaced a couple of months ago. There was some talk about going the feature route, but the project, originally conceived as a pilot, is now firmly headed to TV. WME is spearheading the pitching, which just wrapped, with Brooklyn Weaver, who discovered Fisher. The bidding is expected to continue over the weekend.

Besides the merits of the script, also influencing the enormous interest in Extantis the fact that the networks, especially on the broadcast side, expect a weaker-than-usual pitch season on the drama side because so many top drama writer-producers are tied up on series. Amblin is riding high on the success of its CBS summer drama Under The Dome, which was just renewed for a second season. The company also has strong relationship with FX, where it has freshman breakout The Americans, and TNT, home of sci-fi stalwart Falling Skies. At ABC, Ambin TV has upcoming drama series Lucky 7. Walker previously executive produced Without A Trace. His sci-fi genre creds include stints on The X Files and Smallville.

Source: Deadline