Spotnitz climbs down from High Castle

Scripted-logo-460_2The_Man_in_the_High_CastleFrank Spotnitz will no longer be the showrunner of Amazon’s alternative history drama The Man in the High Castle.

A spokesperson from Spotnitz’s prodco, Big Light Productions, confirmed the development to TBI after Deadline had broken the news in the US.

SVOD service Amazon will not replace Spotnitz, who will remain an executive producer on the Philip K. Dick adaptation, with a team of in-house producers taking over for season two, which recently went into production in Vancouver but will now take a hiatus.

The Big Light spokesperson said reports Spotnitz had clashed with Amazon Studios over direction of the second run of the show were “completely inaccurate”, with the change being put down to the location change.

A joint statement from Spotnitz and Amazon read: “Given the ambition and scope of the series, the decision has been made to locate all creative efforts on The Man in the High Castle to the west coast; Frank Spotnitz will remain as an executive producer and step back from showrunner.

“His responsibilities will be managed by our deep and talented bench of producers. We are enormously grateful to him for bringing our customers on one of the most watched original shows on Amazon Video and we are excited about the team’s vision for season two.”

The Man in the High Castle was one of Amazon Prime Instant Video’s best-received and most-watched pilots, leading to a full season pick-up, which launched last year in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan. Amazon said season one had been its most-watched series (without giving any supporting data).

The show follows an alternative America that lost the Second World War and is occupied by Germany and Japan.

Amazon Studios, Big Light, Headline Pictures, Electric Shepherd and Scott Free Productions were all attached to the original season.

For Amazon, the news comes soon after it created a standalone SVOD service to directly compete with Netflix.

Meanwhile, in November last year, Big Light launched a French office with former Canal+ exec Lorraine Sullivan in charge. Big Light is currently producing Medici: Masters of Florence for Italian pubcaster Rai.

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