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Showtime explains why 'HALO' rocketed to Paramount Plus, expands ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth' cast

By Tara Bennett
Getty Images Chiwetel Ejiofor

At today’s Showtime virtual summer TCA day, network presidents of entertainment, Gary Levine and Jana Winograde, provided updates about their upcoming genre series in development including The Man Who Fell to Earth, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Doctor Strange) and Naomie Harris (No Time to Die), which is based on Walter Tevis’ novel and director Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 film adaptation of the same name which starred David Bowie as the alien.

The series has also added actress Kate Mulgrew (Star Trek: Voyager) in a recurring role as CIA operative Drew Finch whose path will intersect, per the studio release, with “a new alien character (Ejiofor) who arrives on Earth at a turning point in human evolution.”

The series will be executive produced and written by Alex Kurtzman and Jenny Lumet, with Kurtzman also directing several episodes.

Halo Master Chief

Interestingly, Levine and Winograde explained that when the CBS/Viacom companies were reviewing their ongoing television slates in development, The Man Who Fell to Earth and Halo were assessed and moved to the networks they felt best fit the projects — Showtime for Man and Halo shifted to Paramount+.

In the case of the Halo series, Showtime has tallied seven years of development for the project, far before Paramount+ was even conceived as a streaming service. Levine said, “Halo was always a bit of an odd fit, this first-person shooter videogame that we were putting it into our dramas. When Paramount+ emerged, it seemed like it was a better fit.”

Winograde added that they still love what they’ve done, and continue to do with Halo as the studio producing the series. “We continue with the creative and as the studio of the series. We did an amazing job imbuing character drama into it, but it is a big, broad tentpole show. It’s a natural fit with Paramount+. And The Man Who Fell to Earth is a better fit with Showtime.”

As for the changing of networks, Levine said he sees this particular case as a one-time thing, and that programming trade-outs are not expected to become a common occurence. But ultimately, Paramount+ is better suited for a major launch like Halo worldwide.

As for other Showtime genre series, the pilot episode for the series adaptation of Let the Right One In, starring Demián Bichir, is in post-production right now. And Penny Dreadful remains canceled with no current plans for the franchise to be further developed.