Microsoft Pulls the Plug on Original TV — Its Initiative Has Been Spearheaded by Veteran Hollywood Exec

Jul 18, 2014  •  Post A Comment

One day after announcing the largest round of layoffs in company history, news surfaced that Microsoft is shutting down its ambitious move into developing original TV content, Bloomberg reports. The effort has been overseen by veteran executive Nancy Tellem.

"The Xbox Entertainment Studio will close in coming months, Xbox chief Phil Spencer said in an email to employees," the story reports. "Nancy Tellem, the ex-CBS executive brought in to lead the effort two years ago, will stay on with some of her team to complete shows in production, such as a 'Halo' series, the company said."

Former Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer hired Tellem to create original programming, with the idea of drawing more entertainment fans to Xbox. The effort had six confirmed series, and debuted its first show — a street-football reality TV show — last month.

More than a dozen additional programs were reportedly in the pipeline as of April. As recently as March, both Spencer and Tellem reportedly said the company remained committed to its television initiative.

"With Microsoft and new CEO Satya Nadella cutting 18,000 positions and trying to focus more closely on selling software for mobile and the cloud, TV is being jettisoned," Bloomberg reports.

In his email, Spencer reportedly wrote: “Change is never easy, but I believe the changes announced today help us better align with our long-term goals."


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