The Xbox Entertainment Studios era has officially ended at Microsoft. Three months after the Redmond, Washington-based tech giant announced its plan to shutter its original programming wing, it has fired Nancy Tellem and Jordan Levin, who were Xbox Studios’ top two executives.
Tellem, who was the head of Xbox Studios, and Levin, who was its EVP, both survived the first round of Microsoft’s recent wave of layoffs, which occurred in July. It was during those cutbacks that the majority of Xbox Studios employees lost their jobs, but Tellem, Levin, and a few other staffers stayed on in order to finish up existing projects already in development. They reportedly believed they would remain on board until the end of the year, but they instead lost their jobs among 3,000 layoffs at Microsoft.
Since Satya Nadella took over as Microsoft’s CEO in February, the company has laid off about 18,000 people in all, a number that accounts for 14% of its total workforce.
Xbox Entertainment Studios was launched in 2012 and looked to produce big-budget shows outside of the traditional media model. At the most recent Digital Content Newfronts, Tellem and her team showed off a number of intriguing programs, but at the same time, the studio was plagued by several problems. An April report in Recode, for instance, painted a picture of a disorganized and aimless Xbox Studios. More problematic, however, were Nadella’s priorities. The new Microsoft boss wanted to focus on the company’s core businesses, and that left no room on the payroll for Tellem and her team.
According to Variety, the rights for most Xbox Studios shows will now revert to their respective creators. That’s a lot of solid content looking for a new home.