Quite frankly, I was actually surprised that CBS renewed it for a second season, which ran its course this summer. In its first season, “Extant” initially drew interest, but seemed to gradually lose its audience, with a season finale that drew just over 5 million viewers, which was significantly lower than the almost 10 million it attracted for its series premiere – suggesting that, as the season progressed, it lost a lot of you (over 40% by the final episode, which is significant), which is why I say I was surprised that CBS renewed it for another season.
But I was also happy for its star, Halle Berry, hoping for the best, especially given that producers of the show promised a (much needed) shift in tone and pacing in season 2: “The world is changing, and so the tone of the show is changing. It’s a little more soapy, but it’s a little pulpier and fun, too. The stakes were so high with the themes we were dealing with last season… It was about this pregnant woman, and she had her baby taken from her, and this year the characters have little left to lose, and in going for it, there’s a little more fun. A little more gallows humor, too […] We took a page out of the ‘Battlestar Galactica’ book in the sense that the things we loved so much about that show was… the fate of the human race hangs in the balance, and they look at the moral and ethical issues that arise in that context… And it’s about exploring love in desperate times. That’s kind of the nature of what’s happening in the backdrop, but we’re getting into the reality of: What would life really be like under these circumstances? How do you go about your daily life of living and loving? Those relationships in desperate times take on a whole new level of urgency.”
So things were apparently going to get more exciting, overall, with raised stakes, which seemed to be all good! But maybe not good enough to draw viewers back. I did watch the first 3 episodes of season 2, but still wasn’t hooked enough to stick with it, which was pretty much my reaction in season 1. Although I did finish season 1.
Viewership this season didn’t pick up at all, starting with less than season 1’s finale (5.2 million), and ending with 4.5 million. For CBS, home of big ratings draws like the “NCIS” franchise, which consistently draws over 12 million viewers per episode, a 5 million draw likely just doesn’t cut it.
But at least we can say they believed in the sow enough to stick with it, and give it a second chance. Other networks may have not renewed it for a season 2; and some may have canceled it before the first season even ended.
The good news in all this is that CBS wants to continue its relationship with Halle Berry, and also announced a new drama titled “Legalease,” produced by Berry, which will follow a biracial lawyer from Chicago who has to partner up with a white attorney when she’s put begins working on a case in New Orleans.
It’s not said that Berry will star in the drama; as of today, she’s executive producing.
The drama falls under the two-year overall deal Berry has with CBS.