In what marks the first official scripted series green light for Xbox Entertainment Studios, the entertainment arm of Microsoft’s XBox has teamed with UK broadcaster Channel 4 to co-produce Humans. The drama, which has received an eight-episode order, hails from UK production company, Kudos (Broadchurch), which has been developing the project, an adaptation of Swedish series Real Humans (watch trailer below), for more than three years. Humans will begin production in the summer for a premiere on the Xbox platform in North America and Channel 4 in the UK in 2015.
Written by British writing team Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Spooks), 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. “Humans not only questions personal relationships, we loved how this sci-fi show toys with reality and our connection to technology,” said Xbox Entertainment Studios President Nancy Tellem. “This deal with Channel 4 and Kudos underscores Xbox Entertainment Studios’ commitment to programming premium TV series with global partners and creating engaging interactive experiences.” Jane Featherstone and Derek Wax will executive produce for Kudos, along with Henrik Widman and Lars Lundström, from Matador Films, the executive producers of the original Swedish series, which aired on public broadcaster Sveriges Television. Chris Fry (The Smoke) will produce. Shine International is distributing.
Xbox announced its first scripted series, Halo, almost a year ago but the project is still in the deal-making phase as the service has been going through the growing pains of establishing a business template for original content. It has put several other scripted projects in development, including a music series based on rapper Nas’ life, and has greenlighted unscripted street soccer series Every Street United and a series of documentaries about the start of the digital revolution. It also has the live event Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, and a Halo digital feature project executive produced by Ridley Scott and David Zucker.