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AMC replaces Xbox on sci-fi drama

US cablenet AMC is set to replace Microsoft-owned Xbox as a coproduction partner on forthcoming sci-fi drama Humans.

Xbox and Channel 4 in the UK agreed coproduction terms in April for the show, which is being written by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley and produced by Shine Group prodco Kudos.

Humans is based on Swedish show Real Human, which was produced by Matador Films and Swedish pubcaster SVT, and follows robot servants living with families. Shine International, which already distributes the Swedish original globally, will be selling the remake.

But the eight-part series, slated for 2015, is now set to be pulled from Xbox according to widespread reports, following the decision in July by parent firm Microsoft to close its original programming arm Xbox Entertainment Studios.

The decision to axe its Studios arm after only two years in business came amid widespread job cuts at the US software giant, which will see up to 18,000 jobs being axed over the next nine months.

Most will come at its Nokia business, which Microsoft bought for US$7.2bn in April, and are part of a restructuring plan, the company said in July.

Xbox Entertainment Studios was launched in 2012 to create original television content for its Xbox Live online service, but the firm is refocusing its attentions on gaming – the Xbox console’s original purpose.

Former CBS chief Nancy Tellem, who was hired to run the studio in 2012, is set to remain with the company along with exec VP Jordan Levin.

AMC has already been on board a host of original scripted efforts including The Walking Dead and Mad Men and has martial arts series Badlands, Hell on Wheels, Halt & Catch Fire and Breaking Bad sequel Better call Saul on its upcoming slate.

Neither AMC nor Xbox could be contacted prior to press time.


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