We now know a little bit more about Halo’s move to television. At the Television Critics Association’s 2021 summer tour, President and CEO of ViacomCBS Streaming Tom Ryan and Chief Programming Officer of ViacomCBS Streaming Tanya Giles announced that the long-awaited Halo series is set to premiere in 2022.
There’s development hell, then there’s what Halo‘s been through. A series based on the video game franchise of the same name was first announced in 2013 with Steven Spielberg as a producer. That iteration of the project was supposed to be released in 2015, but it never came to fruition. In 2018 Showtime grabbed the project and gave it a 10-episode series order with Kyle Killen as showrunner and executive producer. Rupert Wyatt was also tapped to be the series’ director and EP. That changed toward the end of 2018. Wyatt stepped down due to scheduling conflicts, and was replaced by Otto Bathurst in early 2019. Steven Kane was also added as a co-showrunner alongside Killen.
But it wasn’t until February of 2021 that the series switched networks. That’s when it was announced that the Halo series would be moving from Showtime to Paramount+. That wasn’t the only news about this tumultuous production. In June of this year, both Kane and Killien announced they would be stepping down as showrunners following the completion of Season 1. That said, Pablo Schreiber is still set to play Master Chief. And next year we finally get to see this series that has been years in the making.
“Halo, produced by Showtime and partnership with 343 Industries and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television, will take place in the universe that first came to be in 2001. It’s an epic, 26th century conflict between humanity and an alien threat known as the Covenant,” Giles said. “The show will lean deeply on personal stories, action, adventure, and a richly imagined version of the future. It’s aimed at both Halo fans and audiences not familiar with Halo, alike.”
During their executive session at TCA 2021, Jana Winograde and Gary Levine, co-presidents of Showtime Entertainment, addressed the show’s departure from their network. “We love Halo. We have great affection for it. And that’s a good fit, because we continue on at the studio. So, we’re going to be intimately involved with the creative and the production of it,” Winograde said. “But the truth is that it was always a bit of an outlier for us in terms of its fit in the Showtime universe. We did an amazing job of imbuing into the series the character drama that we’re so well known for. But at the end of the day, it is a big, broad, big—tent show, so when Paramount+ came into being, it really was a natural fit there.”
Winograde noted that the opposite has happened before. Originally, The Man Who Fell to Earth, an upcoming sci-fi drama from Alex Kurtzman, was supposed to go to CBS All Access. It was later moved to Showtime and called a better fit for the network. Winograde also noted that Paramount+ will be able to throw a lot of resources at Halo’s launch, establishing the show as a tentpole for the budding streaming service.
“Look, we started developing Halo seven years ago when there was no Paramount+ or even the glimmer of an idea about it. And it was always a bit of an odd fit, you know? ‘What is Showtime doing talking a video game, a first-person shooter video game, and putting it in their dramas?” Levine said. “We worked real hard over all those years, as Jana has said, to find ways that it could fit. But when Paramount+ emerged, you know, it seemed like it was a better fit for Paramount+.”