CBS Orders Full Season of Spielberg Produced Futuristic Thriller ‘Extant’

Published 2 years ago by

tom cruise minority report CBS Orders Full Season of Spielberg Produced Futuristic Thriller Extant

Steven Spielberg’s next directorial effort – the sci-fi epic Robopocalypse (based on the novel by Daniel H. Wilson) – may be on hold for now, but the legendary filmmaker has certainly been keeping himself busy with other projects in the meantime.

As producer, Spielberg has a number of other films in the pipeline, including such highly anticipated projects as Transformers 4, Jurassic Park 4 and Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. However, in addition to his big-screen efforts, he has also been devoting time to getting television series like Under the Dome and Falling Skies on the air. Now, it seems, that another Spielberg-produced series is on its way.

CBS has placed a straight-to-series order for 13 episodes of a futuristic thriller entitled Extant, produced by Spielberg’s Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios. The series, set to air in summer 2014, will follow an astronaut as she aims to reconnect with her family after spending a year in space.

Extant marks the second Spielberg series that CBS has picked up, following the successful launch of Under the Dome this summer. That series, it should be noted, was initially marketed as a one-season miniseries before receiving high ratings and a second season order. Here’s what Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, said about the new series:

Extant is a very original concept with layers of humanity, mystery and surprise that reveal itself throughout the script. 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.”

Steven Spielberg making Abr CBS Orders Full Season of Spielberg Produced Futuristic Thriller Extant

The decision to pick up the show for a full season, rather than simply ordering a pilot outright (as is usual the process in television), is a bold one. CBS is likely betting on Spielberg’s name to help sell the series to new viewers, a fair bet considering the filmmaker’s marquee status. However, his involvement is far from a guarantee that fans will stick with a new series.

While Under the Dome and Falling Skies have managed to find audiences, ill-fated series like Smash and Terra Nova were also Spielberg productions, and neither lasted more than two seasons. That being said, Extant could very well prove a hit for CBS if good writers and a solid cast are involved. It certainly doesn’t hurt that Spielberg himself has more than a little experience dealing with futuristic storytelling in films like Minority Report and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

Do you think Extant will be the “next big thing” when it hits CBS next summer, or would you prefer for Spielberg to put his influence behind other projects? Let us know in the comments section below.


Stay tuned to Screen Rant for the latest on Extant as its summer 2014 premiere draws closer.

Follow Robert Yaniz Jr. on Twitter @crookedtable
TAGS: Extant
Get our free email alerts on the topics and author of this article:


Post a Comment

GravatarWant to change your avatar?
Go to and upload your own (we'll wait)!

 Rules: No profanity or personal attacks.
 Use a valid email address or risk being banned from commenting.

If your comment doesn't show up immediately, it may have been flagged for moderation. Please try refreshing the page first, then drop us a note and we'll retrieve it. Keep in mind that we do not allow external links in the comments.

  1. Terra Nove 2.0, millions $ of production aaaaaaaaaand it’s gone.

    • Spielberg has the Golden Touch with SF flops. This will be another one.

      • I would like to point out that I called it a year ago.

        It was easy to call too… Can’t imagine why CBS didn’t see it…

  2. Steven Spielberg, what’s the last thing he directed much less was involved with that didn’t completely suck balls? Saving Private Ryan and that was 1998!

    • Um, Lincoln? If not that, there was Minority Report and Catch Me if you can

      • Minority Report was mega-awful. A great opportunity squandered by a bad script. Catch Me If You can was one of his better late movies. It rose all the way to oh-hum mediocrity.

    • To me the last thing he was involved in that didn’t suck was Schindler… or ER if you credit him with it.

  3. Didn’t know Extant was Existent.

  4. “will follow an astronaut as she aims to reconnect with her family after spending a year in space”

    That’s it? Is this like the TV version of “The Astronaut’s Wife”?

    • I’ve been following the chatter on various sites – from what I’ve pieced together it’s about an astronaut who returns to Earth mysteriously pregnant with an alien baby and tries to reconnect with her husband and their son – an android/synthetic. As far as I’m aware, at this juncture, it’s just a SciFi family drama – which makes it that much more perplexing that it was able to skip the pilot phase. I’m worried because it’s not a concept that can sustain a series and was a retooled from an idea that was originally from a feature apparently.

      • Looking at what’s not possible. That’s why we are not Spielbergs.

        • Given Spielberg’s awful track record the last twenty years, it’s not saying much that we’re not Spielbergs. Spielberg never had a nose for good stories, his career started strong because he got lucky with great scripts that were offered to him (and it’s a minor miracle it didn’t end still-born with the script mess that was Sugarland Express!)

          • I disagree so much with your comments-

            The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun were Spielberg’s greatest and most ignored films. Whoopi Goldberg has never given a better performance than in Color Purple, and Christian Bale started his fantastic career with Empire. Yet Hollywood was so jealous of Spielberg’s success that it took Schindler’s List( a film I won’t even watch) to get their attention.
            Spielberg, like most people, can’t please everybody all the time.
            But he has a pretty damn good record of success!

            • Well, since I said “in the last 20 years”, I don’t thin you really disagree as the films you mention are from the 1980s! ;)

              I agree with you on Color Purple, which I liked at the time, but in retrospect I must admit not liking as much. As for Empire of the Sun, I strongly disliked it as I thought it was pointless and that there was a huge dichotomy between the realistic style and some of the absurd action, especially at the end, which I found out of place. I did love John Williams’ great score for it however!

              More generally, I used to love Spielberg and still enjoy his early films tremendously, but to my mind, once he decided to hack through Jurassic Park (with a ridiculously badly written adaptation by the ever-awful David Koepp, his favorite “writer”) I think he stopped caring and it became all about the business aspects. I haven’t seen Lincoln, so maybe I would enjoy it, but I was so disappointed by Minority Report and Munich (what a piece of a-historical bleep that script was!!) that I haven’t been willing to wager the two hours.

      • It’s an awful idea in general, but you’re right that it might be workable for a feature but will be incredibly boring for a series.

        Again I refer you to the “we don’t care about the project, we care about the Hollywood connections of the people involved” travesty that is going on with this project.

  5. ah, why did you have to bring up Terra Nova? both that and falling skies premiered the same year and at the time i found terra nova much more interesting and would still love to see a second season.

    • Hated both and Dark Skies should never have seen a second season given its drooping ratings. The ratings have kept going down, but TNT loves to pretend it’s a hit (and the press loves to help them) and of course the usual cozying up to Spielberg to try and get an executive office after the firing for incompetence.

  6. Sadly, this is clearly yet another “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” project, where an unknown writer is handed over not just his first project, but an Executive Producer credit, whicdh means the guy has uber-major connections.

    Given the subject is idiotic, it of course has mega-flop written all over it.

    Why would CBS waste money on such a dud? Wait, the uber-connected writer and it never hurt to cozy up to Spielberg so as to get an executive office after the inevitable firing.

    Sad, as CBS used to be above that nonsense. Quite nauseating.

  7. Terra Nova wasn’t that bad. I think its crazy to say that its better then falling skies, because its not. Falling skies has better setting/actors/story.Under the dome is also great show, and I hope they can make it last at least 4+ seasons. So I honestly think Extant has a chance to do very well. Spielberg’s movies are also good. Hes always connected to something good, He’s one of the best film goers of all time. Will always check out anything dealing with him.

    • Falling Skies looks ridiculous with its “edgy” photography and the acting is awful (mainly because the scripts and dialog are impossible to say with a straight face). There’s a reason Terranova and Falling Skies failed in the ratings (TNT keeps ordering more Falling Skies for reasons that have nothing to do with its commercial failure): they’re not good.

  8. I like Falling Skies. This new show however doesn’t interest me at all.

  9. Another point I wanted to make is that people are talking about Under The Dome as if it had been some sort of mega-hit, but it really had the average rating of CBS during the regular season.

    It’s a performance that jumps in the summer, but it’s no Roots. Talking about it like it was a huge hit is highly misleading. It’s a rare summer show that did not flop.

  10. Just make Robopocalypse already!!!

  11. I personally liked Terra Nova… At least there was “plausible” story line: after 50+ years of scifi, the series had serious potential. This new one – and I am truly sorry – looks banal. There seems to be a truly idiotic lack of thinking at the Syfy and frankly, ALL the networks. Continuum has my attention as there are at least three story arcs – all interwoven but still individually “evolving”. Arrow is hot, whether scifi or not depends on your own definition. I would love to see Terra Nova return (impossible) for another run… Oh well. Crap is served and crap we watch, hoping that good comes along. The well of stories is no where’s near dry, it’s just that whomever makes decisions seems to be some kind of “@@@@@”. I agree all they’re doing is just using Spielberg’s name to promote this silly show.

    • There is such a wealth of potential SF subjects that it’s sad there’s nothing to watch right now. I am not as lenient on Arrow – not SF IMO and Continuum, which lost me in ten minutes after they expounded their ridiculous pseudo-politically correct premise (and I dislike the lead actress – why do they keep hiring bad actresses?!!!).

  12. Sorry, I meant I had watched and read science fiction for over fifty years – I am 60 yrs old…. Not that Terra Nova was around that long – but millions would be accurate in fact!

  13. Whether it flops or not, it’s still another great example of how networks like CBS, ABC, TNT & FX are all beating SyFy at their own game. Brilliant!

    • IF the game is producing the worst possible SF programming, I think they’re all neck and neck, but regardless of the game Siffy is bound to lose, just because it called itself Siffy…

  14. I wanna see a sci fi type tv show with a futuristic cop tracking down different criminals every week with a main story line running in the length of the season as well.
    Futuristic shoot outs, space car and space ship chases……
    Maybe a cross between Blade Runner / Minority Report on HBO or SHO, so there can be some extra violence, cussing and t*****s……

    • @Pak Attack:

      You should check out Continuum.

      Or… old reruns of Time Trax and Time Cop. :)

      • Time Trax is to Continuum as a porter house steak is to a tofu burger…

        Sad how low we have sunk quality-wise….

  15. meh… just meh. I won’t be watching this, for some reason i rarely if ever watch CBS.

  16. Once again, the motely crews of Hollywood are stealing from the up and coming writers of America, when will they truly create their own product, without impeding on others creative imagination. In the near future … Hollywood will be just a memory!!! Extinct from the entertainment industry….

    • I am very afraid you are right. Already most of Hollywood’s recent crappy movies and shows have ceased to have cultural relevance and business-wise, in spite of the fake BO numbers (sorry “estimates”) the studios disseminate through a pliant press, they’re doing very poorly.

      One of the problems is that the deciders hate anything original. They love derivative.

      Other problem: they love “big names” and it doesn’t matter how many times they fail. Spielberg keeps failing at TV (Under The Dome did so-so and Falling Skies is a flop TNT refuses to admit to) but is far from the worst (Rob Thomas, J.J. Abrams, Seth MacFarlane, Greg Berlanti are all flop factories).

      As for the project itself, it is so ridiculous as to be laughable. It’s a bad script only a network executive could love.

  17. Rena, I happen to know the writer/creator of Extant fairly well (I’ve worked on two of his past projects) and before he wrote Extant, he had no uber-connections. He just wrote a kick ass pilot script that caught people’s attention.

    • Cineguy, since I don’t know you, here’s a 2 part response. Pick the one that applies. ;)

      1 – You’re part of the street team – in that case, no sale. I just don’t buy the “little script that could” story any longer. Haven’t in a long, long time. It’s not the way Hollywood works.

      2 – You really know the writer. In that case you should be aware that Hollywood people almost never share the real story of their success. Their egos love the ‘I wrote a great script and Hollywood recognized my talent” BS, that they almost always gloss over their uber-connections.

      For instance, “self-made man” (as the Amex ad said) Brian Grazer never tells people how his uncle was a big TV writer-producer and how that little fact he never mentions is what helped launch his career. He’d rather people think he’s a “self-made man”.

      Such are the ways of the Hollywood people…

  18. The music in this show is way way overdone. You cannot clearly year the dialogue for the pounding exaggerated music.

  19. I’m finding it disappointing on a number of levels. For one thing I find Molly’s husband very unlikeable. I’ve always liked sci-fi so I don’t have trouble with the futuristic gadgets and prosthetics, etc., what I find creepy and unbelievable is Molly’s husband is usually more concerned with his creepy android son than his wife and her tribulations. Halle Berry is unimpressive. For me she’s revealed a lack of depth as an actress I never noticed before. The show is an epic fail.

    • GG: Welcome to the club. I am glad to see you chose the right pill. Halle Berry has been as devoid of depth for her whole career.

      As for Molly’s husband’s actions. This is a result of bad writing, but then again, they picked someone’s buddy to write the show, hyped him as “the little guy who could” so the result was sadly predictable.

  20. I think that this show has been interesting so far and I’d like to see where it’s going. Love the cast and it’s grabbed my attention unlike most of the stuff we’re being left with to watch these days. If I never see “reality” television again it would be too soon. We seen it and it’d be fine if they had one show but it’s dominating our media in a horrific way. I would like to go back to the 80′s and 90′s when it all seemed more wholesome and people seemed genuinely passionate about what they were doing.

    On another note. I, like most people, am amazed at the amount of time one has to write grit about something they do not like. Congratulations, you’re obviously a winner. On behalf of myself and others who actually like the show we thank you for your comments and hope you will have more time to tell us about your views. Or are you just bent out of shape because nobody picked up on your one of a kind, look at my talent, put me on a pedestal persona.

    In futuristic scenarios like this story you’re reading them as cold and a bit blank. Reality has been altered in this setting and they’ve been desensitized much like what’s been happening to our world. Welcome to it. So what you may be reading as pour acting I’m reading as this isn’t your cup of tea and you should maybe open your eyes and your mind.

    • Halle Berry is a bad actress. The more you open your eyes, the more you notice it. That she got awards just shows how meaningless Hollywood awards are.

      As to the show, it was a flop because people (total surprise!) didn’t like it! When you couple a horrible, convoluted for the sake of convolution concept that only a development exec could love and a bad lead actress, you get a flop.

      It was obvious when it was announced.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more. Halle Berry is living proof that the Academy Awards are BS. I’ve never hated a leading actress in a role more than Berry in “Extant.” She has one note which is: “Victim.” She always looks like she’s about to break into tears even in scene where she’s just saying “hello.” And that stupid hairstyle of hers… don’t get me started. She has Billy Bob Thornton to thank for “beating” that Oscar performance out of her.

        I noticed you made a similar comment about Rachel Nichols work in Continuum and I agree with you there too. Instead of playing her as a strong and formidable woman, which is who Keira is, Nichols plays her like she’s constantly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. It’s a shame because she has the emotional depth but clearly not the smarts to understand what good acting really is.

        I’ve often said that we sci fi fans have to suffer for our sci fi with mediocre writing and production values and now to top all we have to endure Halle Berry and Rachel Nichols’ wretched acting. Extant was one of the dumbest executions of a sci fi premise in recent history. It’s a shame because the suits and the network’s takeaway is that Sci Fi doesn’t work in primetime.

        • Thank you for the kind words Zandiman.

          The academy and emmy awards are just ongoing jokes when it comes to quality.

          When it comes to acting, they think that gaining/losing weight and/or making yourself ugly while being in a politically correct pseudo-edgy project with a big Pr budget is actually a “great performance”…

          It’s ludicrous!

          You’re sadly right about the takeaway. They will indeed tell you that SF only work if there’s 100 million bucks’ worth of empty CGI with it.

          Back Halle Berry, I’m glad I’m not the only one who noticed her complete lack of acting chops.

          Rachel Nichols is terrible too. I tried to watch Continuum and besides the fact it was a Time Trax retread, I was turned off by the politically correct nonsensical world they sketched and the hideous performances.

          speaking of politically coorect, do you remember that the year Berry got her award, it was the “Year of the Black Actor” and the academy was going to give awards to Black actors no matter what. While Denzel Washington is deserving, all they could find (from lack of hiring of Black actors!) was Halle Berry…

          • Halle Berry’s acting isn’t bad, it’s just there; she’s a mediocre actress who only looks bad in comparison to the image of her pushed by Hollywood’s spin machine. For truly bad actors you must turn to most of the performances given in those made-for-SyFy movies–there’s your benchmark for “bad” acting.

            Continuum, on the other hand… I have to wonder how many episodes you watched? The “politically-correct” world they sketched gets subverted quickly enough(unless you [em]advocate[/em] corporate domination, in which case the PCness you’re complaining about must be what exactly?). I enjoyed the first two seasons(the third season came off the rails quite a bit, if you ask me–quite directionless in comparison to what preceded).

            Rachel Nichols doesn’t strike me as a poor actor. I suspect she’s being directed to play up the fact that she’s displaced in time; the writers and directors made the choice to have that be a continuing aspect of the character rather than something she deals with as part of a character arc. The producers have failed there; while the plot evolves nicely, the characters do not–they remain the same or unbelievably jerk into new aspects.

            • I do like your description of Halle Berry’s acting and there is truth to the fact that she appears worse than she is because of the fact we are supposed to believe she’s a great actress.

              That’s hype working against her (but she gets the big money anyway so I won’t be crying for her…)

              I still find her awful. Maybe not Sarah Michele Gellar awful (who is?) but close.

              The comparison with the low-budget Siffy movies is not quite fair as Berry is getting the supposedly best directors to help her as well as big budgets to support her and give her more time to give an adequate performance.

              I didn’t watch much of Continuum as I didn’t see much reason to go on, what with the bad writing and bad acting.

              On the issue of PC-ness, I can’t think of anything more boringly PC and lacking any sort of edge as a show where the villains are big corporations…

              On Rachel NIchols, I found her terrible when she was “in her own time”.

  21. Extant…started out ok ended up silly, real writers don’t need ghosts, paranormal experiences, second sight to be successful,

  22. I would really like to know all the actors in the t.v.series avant.with halle berry
    I really like that show.

    Thank You Wilma.