CBS has announced that it has greenlit sci-fi drama Extant for a 13-episode first season, set to premiere sometime next summer. To be produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television and written by Mickey Fisher, the series follows a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family after she returns from a year-long space mission. No cast is currently attached to the project, the subject of intense bidding wars among several networks, nor has a production timetable been set.
“Extant is a very original concept with layers of humanity, mystery and surprise that reveal itself throughout the script,” said Nina Tassler, President of CBS Entertainment. “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 with Extant and offering CBS audiences another high-concept, unique event for summer television.”
It’s strange to see CBS, a network that’s become a patchwork of crime dramas and multi-camera comedies, get into the genre television game with such gusto, but after Under the Dome broke records with its massive premiere and stabilized at a very high rating, it makes sense for them to go with what works. The Eye has shown to be the most conservative network of the Big Four and while that can lead to unexciting schedules and similar tones throughout their programming, it works extremely well when they capture lightning in a bottle like they did with the Stephen King adaptation, already renewed for a second season. Combine the momentum from Under the Dome with Gravity, the Sandra Bullock/George Clooney movie about a female astronaut who gets lost in space, and Extant might be able to find a niche next summer.
Do you think that Extant could find similar success to what Under the Dome has saw thus far? Are you surprised that CBS seems to be leaning into genre programming to fill its summer schedule? What type of summer programming would you like to see on the air this time next year?