Nancy Tellum came to Microsoft as President of Entertainment and Digital way back in September 2012 by way of CBS and Warner Brothers. She served as President for 12 years at the former network and helped produce broadcast television hits like ER and Friends for the latter. Tellum was then hired by the tech, hardware, and software giant so she could extend her impressive track record of greenlighting quality and premium entertainment programming to a new distribution platform. The Microsoft XBox.
It’s taken longer than she would have liked, reports Variety, but in early 2014, some of the XBox exclusive programming Tellum’s been busy developing and/or acquiring will finally be made available to the owners of the more than 72 million XBox consoles around the world and the 48 or so million XBox Live subscribers.
“We’re hoping we will be able to put something up in the first quarter, at minimum second quarter,” said Tellem at Variety’s recent Dealmakers Breakfast. One of those somethings may be Steven Spielberg’s live-action Halo series. News broke in May 2013 the award winning-director was on board to create an episodic based on Microsoft’s hit gaming title in tandem with Microsoft’s very own video game developer, 343 Industries.
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The Halo series is the most high-profile property Tellum and company have announced to date. It would make sense if it were one of the first major XBox entertainment titles she released. Not only would a Halo entertainment property attract an incredible amount of attention, but considering Microsoft controls the rights to the video game franchise, surely navigating deal points, production schedules, marketing plans, and more is a less timely and less painful process than with any given third party.
But the Halo series, is, of course, not the only project on which Tellum is working. “We’re talking about exclusives, exclusive first windows, exclusive second windows. We play a lot with windows and co-production arrangements,” Tellum said. “And whether we feel these ideas are franchise building or we can own completely.”
Regardless of what entertainment programs will hit XBox gaming screens and when they will first hit them, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing it’s taken Tellum 16 months or more to distribute her first entertainment title on the platform. With the recent release of the XBox One, Tellum has at least 2 million more potential viewers (and counting) than she did before.