Xbox Entertainment Studios and Channel 4 partner on Humans

written by: Richard Kastelein

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xboxlogoMicrosoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios and Channel 4 have announced an innovative co-production deal for bold new drama series Humans, based on the hit Swedish sci-fi drama Real Humans. Produced by award-winning Kudos (Emmy Award-winning The Hour, Utopia, Broadchurch, The Tunnel) the new 8 x 60 series will share a 2015 premiere broadcast window on both Channel 4 in the UK and the Xbox platform in North America.

Written by British writing partnership Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Spooks, Spooks: The Greater Good), Humans is an English language adaptation of Sveriges Television (SVT) and Matador Films’ acclaimed series.

Set in a parallel present where the latest must-have gadget for any busy family is a ‘Synth’ - a highly-developed robotic servant that’s so similar to a real human it’s transforming the way we live. When a rushed-off-his-feet suburban father of three buys a refurbished second-hand Synth, he hopes it will relieve some domestic pressure and paper over the cracks of his marriage. But sharing their life with a machine has far-reaching and chilling consequences - for this Synth, the cuckoo in the nest, is harbouring an extraordinary secret.

Channel 4 Head of Drama, Piers Wenger says: “In Humans, Sam and Jon have not only crafted an ingenious and imaginative thriller, but they’re also asking big, thought-provoking questions about how we live. I’m thrilled to be working once again with the team at Kudos and to be partnering with Xbox to bring this extraordinary and epic series to the screen. This is the first co-production commission to benefit from Channel 4’s increased investment in drama and reaffirms our commitment to ambitious, highly original drama series.”

President of Microsoft’s Xbox Entertainment Studios, Nancy Tellem said:

“Humans not only questions personal relationships, but we loved how this sci-fi show toys with reality and our connection to technology.” She adds “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 – and sits alongside other original commissions including a Halo TV series executive produced by Steven Spielberg.”

Executive Producer Kudos, Jane Featherstone added:

“Exploring themes of love, discrimination and integration, this thrilling, beautifully written series allows us to get under the skin of what it means to be human in the most compelling way. The bold, innovative storylines and subject matter lend themselves perfectly to this pioneering collaboration with Channel 4 and Xbox.”

Filming in the UK will begin in summer 2014, with casting to be announced.

About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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