Friday, October 4, 2013

TV News - Halle Berry to Topline CBS' 'Extant'; FOX Renews 'The Simpsons' for Season 26; Plus 10 More Updates!

Hallmark orders a new drama series.

Kim Raver & William Devane join 24 update.

Plus additional updates for HBO's People in New Jersey (pilot); ABC's The Black Box; Amazon's The After (pilot); Lifetime's HR (pilot); FOX's The Mindy Project; TV Land's Hot in Cleveland; The CW's Nikita; and NBC's The Michael J. Fox Show.

Academy Award winner Halle Berry has signed on to star in CBS' 13-episode straight-to-series summer drama Extant. She will play the leading role of an astronaut 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. She also joins the series as a co-executive producer.

HBO has tapped Topher Grace, Sarah Silverman and Patti Lupone to topline its comedy pilot People in New Jersey written by Bruce Eric Kaplan. Grace will play Carl Levin, an affable locksmith who has a definite idea of how things and people should be and when the world doesn't conform to his vision, he resists mightily. Silverman will play Melanie Levin, his sister and a former management consultant and a closet optimist who now works part-time at a department store. Lupone will play their opinionated mother Rachel, who focuses a lot of her energy on worrying about her children and why neither has settled down in a relationship.

Ditch Davey (Spartacus), David Ajala (The Dark Knight) and Ali Wong (Are You There, Chelsea) have joined the cast of ABC's upcoming drama series The Black Box. Davey will play Dr. Marc Bickman, a brilliant neurosurgeon. Ajala will play Will Van Renseller, a professional chef by trade and caretaker by nature. Wong will play Dr. Ina Lark.

Kim Raver and William Devane have signed on to reprise their roles on FOX's upcoming event series 24: Live Another Day. Both joined the original 24 series in Season 4 as Secretary of Defense James Heller (Devane) and his daughter Audrey Raines (Raver), a committed and passionate woman who fell in love with Jack (Kiefer Sutherland).

Jamie Kennedy, Adrian Pasdar and Aldis Hodge are the first actors to join the Amazon drama pilot The After from Chris Carter. Kennedy will play a professional clown. Pasdar will play a successful Beverly Hills businessman. Hodge will play an escaped convict who proclaims to be an innocent man who was railroaded.

Hallmark is expanded its scripted portfolio by handing out a 10-episode order to Signed, Sealed & Delivered ahead of the backdoor pilot's October 12 premiere as an original movie. From Martha Williamson, the comedic drama centers on an intrepid group of mail detectives in the Dead Letter Office who will deliver every last lost and dead letter to its rightful owner just when the recipient needs it most. Ugly Betty alum Eric Mabius tops the cast which also includes Daphne Zuniga, Kristin Booth, Crystal Lowe and Geoff Gustafson.

FOX has picked up animated staple The Simpsons for an historic 26th season. "For more than a quarter of a century, The Simpsons has captured the hearts and minds of fans in a way that transcends ages, languages and cultures," said FOX Chairman Kevin Reilly. "This groundbreaking series is not only the longest-running scripted show in television history, it's one of the greatest sitcoms of our time, and I'm looking forward to yet another landmark season."

Academy Award-nominated actor Peter Fonda (Ulee's Gold, Easy Rider) has joined the cast of the Lifetime drama pilot HR starring Alicia Silverstone. He will play Jonathan Quaff, one of the founders of the company Ellen (Silverstone) works for. He is bowled over by Ellen's unorthodox and shocking ideas on how to upgrade the company's image while keeping everyone happily employed. Additionally, Cara Mantella and Cheyenne Jackson have signed on to guest star in the pilot.

Larenz Tate (Rescue Me) will appear on an upcoming episode of FOX's The Mindy Project. He will play Tracy Whitfield, a politician currently running for Congress who butts heads with Mindy (Mindy Kaling) on a few issues.

Jason Priestley (Call Me Fitz), Thomas Lennon (Sean Saves the World) and Susan Lucci (Devious Maids) will guest star on the fifth season of TV Land's Hot in Cleveland. Priestley will play a movie star who Melanie had a crush on in high school. Lennon will play an FBI agent looking into Victoria's husband's disappearance. Lucci will return to the series as Victoria's nemesis.

Musician Sting will appear as himself on an upcoming holiday-themed episode of NBC's The Michael J. Fox Show.

The fourth and final season of The CW's Nikita will launch on Friday, November 22 at 9/8c. The drama's series finale will air on December 27.