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Though its numbers have declined a bit since its premiere, Under the Dome continues to be a ratings success for CBS. This Monday night's episode, for example, was the highest rated in adults 25-54 and Monday's most-watched program. So it's understandable that CBS would be confident enough in their partnership with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television to want to push forward with another series set for next summer. This week, CBS announced that they've given a straight-to-series order for Extant, which will be produced by Amblin Television and CBS Television Studios, and is set to air Summer 2014.

Based on a script by Steven Spielberg, Greg Walker and Mickey Fisher, and executive produced by Brooklyn Weaver, Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank, Extant is described as "a futuristic thriller about a female astronaut trying to reconnect with her family when she returns after a year in outer space." It sounds like the things she's experienced in space will lead to events that "ultimately will change the course of human history." Sounds about right for Spielberg, whose past TV credits include Terra Nova, The River, Smash, Falling Skies, and Under the Dome. There are some hits and misses in that lot, but no one can accuse him of not going big with his small screen endeavors.
“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 interesting that she refers to to Under the Dome as "high-quality event programming," considering we initially thought UTD was going to be a one-season series, but that turned out not to be the case. With the series' recent renewal, it's looking like Under the Dome will be a full series. With that said, I'm still holding out hope that the writers have planned a bit more closure for this first season's story than what we might see in a typical series. I'd like to get the sense that I've been given a mostly complete story with the option to return for more next year. If that's the case, I'd still consider Under the Dome "event programming." That's a tangent though. Getting back to Extant, the premise is a bit on the vague side, in terms of the "experiences" referenced in the description. Are we talking aliens? Alternate dimensions? Or something else? With Spielberg involved, it could be anything. The sky (and beyond) is the limit. But it sounds like it's set up to be another thrilling story for viewers to indulge in throughout the summer, as we have been with UTD.

Forgoing the pilot process and pushing forward with a straight-to-series order shows CBS' confidence in Extant, and given Under the Dome's success, that's no surprise. CBS has no reason not to try to double their bet. Extant is one more thing to look forward to next summer, along with the second season of Under the Dome and Fox's event series 24: Live Another Day.
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