Tellem, Levin Out at Microsoft

Updated: Tech giant lays off last Xbox Studios employees
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Microsoft has finished shuttering Xbox Entertainment Studios, with president Nancy Tellem and executive VP Jordan Levin among those affected by company-wide layoffs Wednesday.

Microsoft announced in July that it would close Xbox Entertainment Studios as part of a plan to lay off more than 18,000 employees. At the time, Microsoft said that Tellem, Levin and a small staff would stay on and “remain committed to original programming already in production.” On Tuesday, the company confirmed the departure of the executives and the last of their team.

"Nancy and Jordan were key members and visionaries for the XES team, and we thank them for their leadership and many contributions,” a Microsoft spokesperson said.

Tellem, former president of CBS Network Television Entertainment Group, joined Microsoft in 2012, charged with creating original content for distribution via the Xbox video game consoles. Levin, former CEO of the WB Network and president of Alloy Digital, came aboard in February, 2014.

At least one project developed under Tellem and Levin has found a life elsewhere. In September, AMC announced that it had finalized a deal to co-produce Humans, originally set up at Xbox, with the U.K.’s Kudos and Channel 4.

Xbox also still plans on airing two of the documentaries produced by Lightbox — Atari: Game Over and The Thread (working title), according to a Microsoft spokesperson. That spokesperson also says that Halo: Nightfall, which is being led by 343 Industries, will be released this fall as part of Halo: The Master Chief Collection and that the Halo television series remains on track. Neither project is impacted, the spokesperson says.

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