Microsoft is reportedly close to inking a deal with Showtime that could see episodes of the upcoming live-action Halo show air on the TV network before appearing on Xbox.

The Stephen Spielberg-produced Halo show has been in the works for over a year, and Microsoft and Showtime are "deep in negotiations," said Variety.

The site's sources said the Halo show could air first on Showtime, then later on the Xbox platform.

Meanwhile they're also close to getting two showrunners on board, likely to create a pilot, the site said.

Show and tell time

It might be telling that Microsoft reportedly feels the need to bring Showtime on board as a partner when it comes to a property as important to the Xbox brand as Halo.

Spielberg's production company Amblin Entertainment may need additional help developing the series, or Microsoft might enlist Showtime to help the show reach a wider audience.

Regardless, looking at Showtime's other shows might hint at what the Halo show will look like. If it's to fit in with the Showtime lineup then it will need to match shows like Dexter, Homeland and the upcoming Penny Dreadful in terms of quality and tone.

However the Halo show has so far been positioned to lead the charge on Xbox as an entertainment platform where Microsoft will debut original content ranging from Robot Chicken-style animation to documentaries. It would be surprising if Microsoft is really considering letting Showtime have the Halo episodes first.

In any case this is all rumor and speculation for now, and we won't know more until Microsoft announced something. Thankfully with E3 2014 right around the corner we'll doubtless find out more soon.