People/Biz

Tellem, Levin out as Xbox Entertainment Studios closes

Xbox Entertainment Studios president Nancy Tellem (pictured) and exec VP Jordan Levin have both departed parent company Microsoft, as part of a final round of layoffs at the tech firm.
October 29, 2014

Xbox Entertainment Studios (XES) president Nancy Tellem (pictured) and exec VP Jordan Levin have both departed parent company Microsoft, as part of a final round of layoffs at the tech firm.

The news comes after Microsoft announced in July that it would be winding down XES, as part of a restructure that would see up to 18,000 jobs being cut over 12 months. The XES division has now fully shuttered, the company has confirmed.

In a statement given to realscreen, a Microsoft spokesperson said: “Nancy and Jordan were key members and visionaries for the XES team, and we thank them for their leadership and many contributions.”

The spokesperson added that Microsoft – through Xbox – “remains committed to airing two of the documentaries produced by Lightbox,” namely Atari: Game Over and The Thread (working title), with release dates yet to be set for both titles. And on the fiction side, Halo: Nightfall and the Halo TV series “remain on track.”

However, Microsoft will not be proceeding with other factual projects that were in development, including the interactive docudrama being made by Stephen David Entertainment. Rights will revert to their initial owners.

The Santa Monica-based XES – which had roughly 200 employees – was shuttered as the result of its parent company’s decision to focus on the core business of video-gaming.

XES first hired former CBS entertainment president Tellem to serve as its president in September 2012. In February this year, she brought in Levin, the former CEO of the WB Network, to serve under her as XES’s exec VP.

In an internal staff memo issued this summer, Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, said that both execs would be staying on to complete work on the original programming that was already in production.

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.

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