(UPDATED WITH STATEMENT FROM AMAZON) EXCLUSIVE: Frank Spotnitz has exited The Man In The High Castle. Sources tell me that the showrunner behind the Amazon series based on Philip K Dick’s 1962 alternative history novel left High Castle in the past few days after clashing with the streaming service over the production of the Season 2 of the show. No new showrunner is being brought on board to replace the Europe-based Spotnitz and the current production team will take over his responsibilities.
The sudden departure of Spotnitz has also seen the Vancouver-shot show today go on an immediate hiatus. Right in the middle of production on High Castle‘s second season, that break could last up to 2-weeks. In typical fast fashion, this went down so quick that Spotnitz’s UK-based Big Light Productions was happily tweeting about the show as recently as May 11:
Deadline Sets Contenders Television Documentary + Unscripted Event For May 1; 18 Outlets, 37 Shows On One Day
— FrankSpotnitz (@FrankSpotnitz) May 11, 2016
With its tale of an America sternly ruled by victorious Axis powers, The Man In The High Castle first appeared on Amazon on January 15, 2015 after the Spotnitz developed project had bounced around unsuccessfully for several years beforehand. The deal with Amazon came just before the producers option on Dick’s book was to expire the EP told the TCA last summer. With the High Castle pilot quickly became one of the most watched pieces of original content on the streaming service, Amazon picked the show up for series the next month. On November 20 last year, a full 10-episode first season debuted.
With Spotnitz EPing along with Scott Free Productions’ Ridley Scott and David Zucker, and Isa Dick Hackett, the well reviewed and streaming record breaking High Castle was renewed for a second 10-episode season on December 18, 2015. Alexa Davalos, Luke Kleintank, Rufus Sewell, Rupert Evans, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, and Joel de la Fuente starred in the tale of the Nazi and Imperial Japan dominated U.S.A, which expected to come back later this year.
While leaving High Castle, Spotnitz is also currently working on the Renaissance set Medici: Masters of Florence. Starring Dustin Hoffman as Giovanni de’ Medici and Game of Thrones alum Richard Madden as his son Cosimo de’ Medici, the series was created by Spotnitz and Nicolas Meyer and is being sold internationally by Wild Bunch TV.
(7:37PM – Here’s what Amazon said about the situation: Given the ambition and scope of the series, the decision has been made to locate all creative efforts on The Man in the High Castle to the west coast; Frank Spotnitz will remain as an Executive Producer and step back from showrunner. His responsibilities will be managed by our deep and talented bench of producers. We are enormously grateful to him for bringing our customers on one of the most watched original shows on Amazon Video and we are excited about the team’s vision for season two.)
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