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A guide to the first Xbox Entertainment TV shows headed to your Xbox

Xbox Entertainment Studios doesn't plan to roll out their Xbox Originals programming like traditional TV. There won't be traditional seasons or a time when they drop a slew of pilots to see which ones take and which ones won't. Eventually, the plan will be to make use of their platform and be more organic in both how they pursue new shows and deliver them.

But to kick things off, Xbox Originals has a robust set of drama, comedy, reality and documentary programming. These shows fall into two distinct categories: The ones that are absolutely happening, and the ones that are still being piloted and may or may not see the light of day.

Here's a complete rundown:

The Sure Things

Halo series

Elevator pitch: A live-action original series based on the Halo franchise created in partnership with 343 Industries and Amblin Television.

The names: Steven Spielberg will executive produce.

The quote: "What was very clear was this rich mythology of Halo and the storytelling," Nancy Tellem, Microsoft's entertainment and digital media president, said, "that ... the fans wanted a more rounded understanding or deeper understanding of some of the characters."


Halo digital feature

Elevator pitch: Almost nothing is known about this project beyond the people behind it and that it will be a "digital feature."

The names: Ridley Scott and David Zucker will be executive producers. Sergio Mimica-Gezzen (Battlestar Galactica, Heroes) will direct.

The quote: "I think when you have a series you can go much deeper in the storytelling," Tellem said, "but features can also tell a story. You have to be a little more contained as far as the story you want to tell."

Release: Shooting starts this week, aiming for a release late this year.

Every Street United

Elevator pitch: A reality show series about the hunt for the world's best street soccer stars and their ultimate showdown in a four versus four game in the streets of Rio de Janeiro during the World Cup. The eight episodes will be hosted by the team's coaches, legendary soccer stars Thierry Henry and Edgar Davids.

The names: Directed by Jonathan Hock (30 for 30, Streetball), produced by Mike Tollin.

The quote: "This is an example of thinking globally about this platform," said Xbox Entertainment Studios executive vice president Jordan Levin, "you know, the biggest sport around the biggest sporting event in the world with global superstars and investment in each of the countries that's participating."

Release: June



Elevator pitch: A drama series that tells the story of an alternate present where highly-developed robot servants are the latest family gadget. Based on the Swedish series Real Humans.

The names: Executive producers Jane Featherstone (Life on Mars, Broadchurch) and Derek Wax (The Hour, Sex Traffic). Written by Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley (Spooks)

The quote: "We think this is a really provocative series because it asks, once again, questions about technology and the role of technology in our lives," Levin explained. "And, in this specific case, what does it mean to be human?"

Release: Casting begins in May and production later this summer. Hits next year.



Elevator pitch: Attend Bonnaroo without leaving your living room. Have control over which stage you watch, what angle you see and even stand in virtual line to interview your favorite band live via Skype.

The names: Bonnaroo 2014's lineup is massive and eclectic, featuring headlining acts like Kanye West, Elton John, The Flaming Lips, Vampire Weekend, Disclosure, Ice Cube, Neutral Milk Hotel, Skrillex and dozens more.

The quote: "If you want to see a certain act, you can go to a certain stage, you can be watching the other act snapped in the corner," Tellem said. "I should preface it by saying, right now, we're testing it with two stages. If successful, we'll expand that out to all the stages at the festival."

Release: June 13 - June 15

Signal to Noise

Elevator pitch: A six film documentary series that explores how modern technology has altered the way we interact with the world. Installments will explore the burial of Atari ET cartridges in the desert of Alamogordo, N.M., and the birth of the Silk Road.

The names: Produced by Simon Chinn (Searching for Sugar Man, Man on Wire) and Jonathan Chinn (30 Days, American High). "Atari: Game Over" is directed and written by Zak Penn (X-Men 2, Avengers).

The quote: "There's been a lot of pushback," Tellem said of the Alamogordo dig. "They think there's radioactive pigs ... It's amazing. It's a complete circus."

Release: Late summer/fall

The Possibles



Elevator pitch: An Australian Navy bomb clearance diver and shark attack survivor joins people on their harrowing jobs including smoke jumpers, storm chasers and soldiers.

The names: Starring Paul de Gelder and produced by Australia's Cordell Jigsaw Zapruder.

The quote: "It stars an Australian who survived a shark attack and is very empowered to think about what is it that puts people in harm's way to help others," Tellem said. "And he wants to shine a light on those unsung heroes."

Gun Machine

Elevator pitch: A hardboiled thriller about a detective that is tracking a serial killer who is tied to a mysterious collection of guns used in in famous New York murders. Based on the New York Times bestselling novel by Warren Ellis.

The names: Ellis will executive produce with Brett Conrad (The Killing, Sons of Anarchy) who has signed on to write the pilot script.

The quote: "We're looking at graphic novels, novels and acquiring rights," Tellem said.


Jash in the Box

Elevator pitch: A variety half-hour comedy show by the comedy collective Jash founded by Sarah Silverman, Michael Cera, Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim and Reggie Watts.

The names: Silverman will host the pilot episode. Daniel Kellison (Late Night, Late Show with David Letterman) will executive produce.

The quote: "We're shooting a pilot in June with the premise that every episode of this series would feature a well known comedic persona showcasing people that that person thinks is funny in the form of short films, sketches, stand up, whatever it may be," Tellem said.

Release: The show has a pilot commitment and will begin shooting in June.

Extraordinary Believers

Elevator pitch: A hybrid stop-motion, live production show starring a band of medieval misfits stuck in modern Los Angeles trying to find their way home by finding magic mushrooms. The show is shot by sending improv actors out into the city to interact with regular people, in a way that moves the story forward.

The names: Created by Stoopid Buddy Stoodios, the folks behind Robot Chicken. Executive producers will be Seth Green, Matt Senreich, Eric Towner and John Harvatine IV.

The quote: "We didn't believe they could technically do what they pitched," Levin said, "so they went out and created a reel, a test reel to show us that they could. We think the results speak for themselves."



Elevator pitch: A live-action series based on the Winterworld graphic novel, which takes place in a reality where our world has been encased in ice and humanity now fights in tribes to survive.

The names: Ted Adams and David Ozer from IDW Entertainment and Rick Jacobs and Dave Alpert from Circle of Confusion (The Walking Dead) will executive produce.

The quote: "Winterworld is also a series of novels that has been very successful within the graphic novel world," Tellem said, "and we're looking at developing a miniseries for that as well."


Elevator pitch: A show based on the alt-history roleplaying game of the same now that mashes up western and horror genres with just a twist of steampunk.

The quote: "Xbox Entertainment Studios has committed to a script based on the successful pen-and-paper role playing game created by Shane Lacy Hensley.

Gears of War, Fable, Forza, Age of Empires, State of Decay

Elevator pitch: All of these are loose concepts that are just starting to be explored.

The names: Xbox Entertainment say they are working with the different game studios to see which makes sense as television or feature.

The quote: "First and foremost is actually working with the game studios," Tellem said. "We are not pursuing something unless, again, we take the lead from the game studios. We take the lead from, in past for example, when you look at Gears of War, Hollywood has approached the game studio and they've tried to develop features. The thing that's great is that we're effectively their in-house arm, where we're conscious about the brand, about the fans, and we take their lead as opposed to the other way around."

The shows, tech and reasoning behind Microsoft's grand experiment with television