1:30pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
AMC Lands Xbox Drama Series 'Humans'
AMC is stepping in for Xbox.
The cable network is near a deal to acquire domestic rights to the co-production drama series Humans, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. AMC declined comment.
Humans landed at Xbox with an eight-episode series commitment in April in a co-production deal with U.K. broadcaster Channel 4. The series, from British writing team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Spooks) is an English-language adaptation of Sveriges Television and Matador Film's acclaimed series Real Humans. U.K. indie production banner Kudos (Broadchurch) will produce the series, which was originally planned to share a premiere broadcast window on both the Xbox platform in North America and Channel 4 in the U.K. in 2015. Casting is said to already be underway.
Humans is set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a "synth" — a highly developed robotic servant eerily similar to its live counterpart. In the hope of transforming the way they live, one strained suburban family purchases a refurbished synth only to discover that sharing life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences.
AMC's deal to step in for Xbox comes two months after Microsoft opted to shutter Xbox Entertainment Studios, its original programming studio. That left originals like Humans and the Steven Spielberg-produced live-action Halo series in the lurch. (Sources told THR in August that Xbox was shopping its entertainment studio, with Warner Bros. coming up as a potential home.)
For AMC, meanwhile, the deal to acquire Humans comes as the cable network has seen its latest original scripted programming struggle to break through the way that critical and ratings hits like The Walking Dead, Mad Men and Breaking Bad have. The network will not unspool any new original scripted series for the remainder of 2014. AMC's roster of originals currently includes martial arts drama Badlands (late 2015 or early 2016), the final seven episodes of Mad Men, Saturday staple Hell on Wheels and the sophomore runs of Halt & Catch Fire and Turn, as well as Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul and monster hit The Walking Dead.