×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tellem Lines Up First Original Xbox Series, Including ‘Halo’

Microsoft to spend considerable money around new series, on the level of HBO's 'Game of Thrones'

With a show based on its popular videogame franchise “Halo” in the works from Steven Spielberg, Nancy Tellem is starting to put her first slate of shows together that she wants to launch on Microsoft’s Xbox Live platform.

While no other titles have yet been revealed, the former CBS exec wants to get the first projects on TV screens by the end of the year, Tellem told Variety on Tuesday shortly after Microsoft unveiled its new Xbox One console set to hit retail shelves later this fall.

The “Halo” series is the first to be announced since Tellem joined Xbox Entertainment Studios last summer.

SEE ALSO: Tellem Named Microsoft Entertainment Chief

Tellem is considering a number of projects, from high-profile series like “Halo” to alternative fare like reality and gameshows, sports and other live events. Budgets and the length of episodes, as well as how many episodes would be produced, are also being considered and vary depending on the series. One-hour shows could be a possibility.

Microsoft is clearly giving Tellem a budget to play with: she described the production quality of the upcoming “Halo” series on the level of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” while other shows would resemble any high-end series on a cable or broadcast network.

But while the “Halo” series certainly set off a flurry of buzz, Tellem isn’t in a hurry to get shows on Xbox Live.

“For us, it’s about taking the necessary time to produce the right shows,” she said.

Xbox is also considering other distribution methods once the shows have aired on Xbox Live — like taking the series to other more traditional network or how to release them on other homevideo platforms.

It’s a similar situation that Netflix and Amazon are now dealing with as they produce more original series that start online first.

And that’s what Tellem has had to get used to, since becoming Microsoft’s chief entertainment exec.

“I wake up and think no deal or project is the same,” she said. “We’re not constrained by any precedent or prior circumstances.”

The new Xbox One videogame console, which replaces the eight-year-old Xbox 360, is key for the kind of programming Tellem is developing, given that it will offer up a slew of new features that make video interactive, especially on mobile devices, through Xbox Live and second-screen app technology SmartGlass.

Tellem sees the interactive features available on Xbox Live — whether it’s on the current Xbox 360 or new Xbox One — as a game-changer of the relationship between content creators and the viewers of their shows by offering them more details on characters or stats during sports.

“It shifts the power to the viewer and consumer,” Tellem said. “You can create a more enriching experience and have the viewer become more engaged. It encourages you to watch the show more than once” or interactive with a live event more.

Since joining Xbox, Tellem has been busy meeting with agencies and taking pitches from content creators. But Tellem has also had to educate Hollywood on what exactly the Xbox and Xbox Live can do.

SEE ALSO: Microsoft Unveils New Console: Xbox One

“Many view it only as a gaming console,” she said. “But it’s an extremely different experience.” The perception is quickly changing, however. “There’s been tremendous interest to be on the (Xbox Live) platform. We’re spending long hours hearing pitches. Frankly, it’s been overwhelming.”

More Biz

  • Former movie producer Harvey Weinstein (L)

    Some Weinstein Accusers Balk at $30 Million Settlement

    Some of Harvey Weinstein’s accusers are not satisfied with a proposed $30 million settlement of their harassment claims, and may not agree to the deal, Variety has learned. Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case told Judge Mary Walrath on Thursday that they are close to a global resolution of the civil litigation. The accusers, [...]

  • Director Dean DeBlois and online game

    'Dragon' Director Dean DeBlois and PUBG's CH Kim to Keynote 2019 VIEW Conference

    Dean DeBlois, director and executive producer of DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” and PUBG Corporation CEO CH Kim are the first keynote speakers announced for the 2019 VIEW Conference in Turin, Italy, in October. Since it began 12 years ago, VIEW, which stands for Virtual Interactive Emerging World, has continually [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Accusers Near Settlement in Bankruptcy Case

    Attorneys in the Weinstein Co. bankruptcy case say they are getting close to reaching a settlement that would compensate Harvey Weinstein’s sexual misconduct accusers. The company went bankrupt last year, as it faced hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and numerous civil suits on behalf of Weinstein’s alleged victims. The company sold to Lantern [...]

  • Ari Emanuel Endeavor

    Endeavor IPO Filing Offers Details of Company's Financials, Leadership Pay Packages

    Endeavor’s IPO filing Thursday offers a hard look at the company’s financial performance during the past three years during a period of rapid growth for the company that’s home to UFC, WME, Professional Bull Riders and a clutch of other assets. Endeavor is generating solid free cash flow from operations and healthy adjusted earnings for [...]

  • Rolling Stones Give up 'Bittersweet Symphony'

    Rolling Stones Give 'Bittersweet Symphony' Songwriter Royalties to the Verve's Richard Ashcroft

    UPDATED: Nearly 22 years after the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” was released, the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards have assigned to Richard Ashcroft the songwriter royalties and rights from the song, which samples one of their compositions, and removed their writing credits. The news was first reported by the BBC and New Musical Express. [...]

  • Pamela Anderson

    Pamela Anderson Fears Julian Assange 'Won't Survive' Extradition to U.S.

    After previously speaking out in support of her friend and WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, Pamela Anderson doesn’t think he would survive an extradition from the U.K. to the U.S. “I hope he gets out of there, but I don’t think he’ll survive extradition. It can’t happen. It’s not even an option. We can’t have him [...]

  • Jane Austin SAG AFTRA

    SAG-AFTRA Secretary-Treasurer Jane Austin Running for President

    Jane Austin, the National Secretary-Treasurer of SAG-AFTRA, has become the third candidate for the presidency of the performers union, joining incumbent Gabrielle Carteris and Matthew Modine. Austin is running as an independent for the top post at SAG-AFTRA, which has 160,000 members. Carteris will seek re-election as the head of the ticket for the Unite [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content