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Bad Robot goes to HBO. The cable network has given a pilot production commitment to the J.J. Abrams produced Westworld, a drama series adaptation of Michael Crichton’s 1973 science fiction film. This is the first cable sale for the sci-fi inclined Bad Robot, which has previously only produced shows for broadcast television such as Fringe, Person of Interest, Revolution, the upcoming Believe, and of course Lost. Westworld will be written by Person of Interest creator Jonathan Nolan and by Lisa Joy (Burn Notice) and is described as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin,” according to Deadline. A western inspired take on artificial intelligence? This is certainly the kind of material that appeals to Bad Robot producers. Nolan is set to direct the pilot, which he and Joy will executive produce along with Abrams, Jerry Weintraub (Behind the Candelabra) and Bryan Burk (Lost, Fringe) and Kathy Lingg (Person of Interest, Revolution). Warner Brothers Television is producing alonf with Bad Robot, Jerry Weintraub Productions and Kilter Films.
This is the second series inspired by Crichton’s feature; the first was a short-lived, 1980 drama that seemed to air only three episodes, called Beyond Westworld. The series was a continuation of the original Westworld and its sequel Futureworld. Warner Brothers has owned the rights to Westworld for some time, and has wanted to take advantage of the property over the past few years, initially exploring a feature production before landing on this small-screen adaptation. While the project is being produced by a science fiction-literate team, does this fit HBO’s drama-oriented brand?