Can Halle Berry Make It on TV?

 Halle BerrySony Pictures via Everett Collection

Halle Berry is a beautiful and talented actress with a bevy of film credits to her name. When it comes to predicting whether the Academy Award-winner can make the transition to television, however, her success in films means absolutely nothing.

Berry and Steven Spielberg are teaming up for a sci-fi series called Extant, which is scheduled to premiere on CBS in July. Berry will play an astronaut that returns from a year in space and tries to reconnect with her family. Since the title of the show means “surviving” and CBS’ teaser for the show shows life being created, rumors have already started that the show’s mystery will include an unexplained pregnancy.

Besides Berry, television vets Goran Visnjic (ER) and Camryn Manheim (The Practice) are on board as her husband and best friend, respectively. The fact remains, however, that the show’s success will largely hinge on whether audiences are willing to accept Berry in a completely different venue.

The trend for screen actors moving to television for years now has led most to cable, where the production runs are shorter and the creative license is greater, whether that’s Laura Dern in Enlightened or Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson in True Detective. Network fare is a completely different animal, where ratings and advertising dollars trump any creative concerns. For every success like Kevin Bacon in Fox’s The Following, there are plenty of others like Kathy Bates, Bette Midler, and Christian Slater that come and go in a blink.

Berry is certainly a capable actress, but do television audiences really want to see her as an astronaut? Even if it turns out to be one that’s pregnant with an alien? Spielberg’s team will have to come up with some pretty enticing twists for Berry’s move to TV pay off.

Should she fail, though, there will probably always be another X-Men movie to help cushion the blow.