Japanese actor Hiroyuki Sanada, recently seen in The Wolverine, is set to co-star opposite Halle Berry in CBS’ upcoming summer drama series Extant, from Steven Spielberg’s Amblin TV and CBS Studios. Created by Mickey Fisher, it 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. Sanada will play a wealthy technological genius who put his wealth to work privatizing the world’s space programs into a single entity. The actor — repped by CAA, Axon Entertainment, Lighthouse Entertainment and Sheppard, Mullin — just finished voicing a character in Universal’s Despicable Me Minions spinoff and will next be seen as the chief Samurai Oishi in Universal Pictures’ 47 Ronin and the Weinstein Co’s The Railway Man.
The fairytale ride of sci-fi spec Extant continues. After snagging one of the biggest commitments this season, a 13-episode straight to series order from 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.”
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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.
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.