– CBS’s straight-to-series summer 2014 drama “Extant,” from Steven Spielberg and starring Halle Berry, is beefing up its cast. Emmy and Golden Globe winner Camryn Manheim has signed on to play Sam Barton, the best friend and closest confidant of Berry’s character Molly, an astronaut who returns from a year in space and tries to reconnect with her family. The mystery thriller promises that Molly’s experiences will lead to events that change the course of human history.
– Season 6 of “The Voice” won’t premiere until late February, but already details about the new season are rolling out. Returning coach Shakira has revealed that her team mentor will be none other than fellow coach Blake Shelton‘s wife, Miranda Lambert. Nothing like keeping it in the family, though that ought to make it a little uncomfortable in the Shelton-Lambert household for a few months’ time. [Access Hollywood]
– More details have become available about Netflix’s new Andy and Lana Wachowski sci-fi drama, “Sense8.” The series, which is a collaboration with “Babylon 5″ creator J. Michael Straczynski and goes into production in June, will follow eight different characters connected by a shared “violent vision.” The episodes will follow each character individually, and be set in the United Kingdom, Seoul, Mumbai, Nairobi, Berlin, Mexico City, San Francisco and Chicago.
The regular characters include: a closeted Mexican telenovela hunk; an Icelandic party girl; a German safe-cracker; a Korean businesswoman; an African bus driver; a transgender American blogger; an apparently magic African-American named Jonas who appears to all of the “visionaries;” and his evil counterpart, Mr. Whispers. [TVLine]
– Want a first look at FX’s take on “Fargo”? Two new stills from the limited series, the network’s adaptation of the 1996 Oscar-nominated film, have been released. One image shows Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard, who is loosely based on William H. Macy‘s character from the movie. In the second still, Allison Tolman‘s Deputy Molly Solverson does some paperwork over a cup of coffee. [Yahoo TV]
– Also hitting the Internet are two new images from Guillermo del Toro‘s “The Strain.” Corey Stoll can be seen as main character Dr. Ephraim Goodweather, the head of the CDC’s Canary Team in New York City who investigates the new strain of vampirism. “The Strain” debuts on FX in July. [Yahoo TV]
– “The Pete Holmes Show” has been renewed for an additional 13 weeks, which will air beginning Feb. 24. “The first 28 episodes were a joy to make, and I’m so thrilled we get to keep going,” host Pete Holmes says in a statement. “We have so much more we want to do, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity to make great comedy, continue to evolve the show and really push the limits of potty language and tasteful male nudity. I can’t wait!”
– “Modern Family” is going Down Under later this season when the Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker family takes a vacation to Australia. Qantas Airlines, which is co-sponsoring the production, will fly the full cast and executive producer Steve Levitan to Oz in February.
– The Military Channel is changing its name. Beginning Monday, March 3, the Discovery Communications cable network will change its name to American Heroes Channel (AHC). The new version of the network plans to “honor the great defenders of our freedom, while providing a rare glimpse into major events that shaped our world and the trailblazers and unexpected advocates who made a difference.”
– Luke Tipple‘s got a new gig. The CW’s “Capture” host/Shark Week favorite is set to host Syfy’s “Opposite Worlds,” a new reality competition series and social experiment premiering Jan. 21. In “Opposite Worlds,” 14 people go head-to-head in opposing teams that live in a house separated into two distinctly different worlds: one future and one past, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Adding to the drama is a glass wall dividing the house into the two environments, allowing the teams to watch, envy and dread each other’s every move.
– National Geographic Channel is ready to take you to space, live. The network has announced it will air “Live From Space” this March, a two-hour special broadcast from the International Space Station and Mission Control in Houston.The special will go into orbit with astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Koichi
Wakata from the ISS, while astronaut Mike Massimino (most notably known
for fixing the Hubble Telescope) will be live in Houston. Viewers will be able to chat via video with Mastracchio and Wakata, so start thinking of your questions now.
– Disney Junior has picked up new seasons of its series “Sofia the First,” “Doc McStuffins” and “Jake and the Never Land Pirates.” All three are Top 10 series among the preschool set and score well with parents too.