×

Jordan Levin in Talks to Join Xbox Entertainment Studios

Jordan Levin, who helped launch the WB network nearly two decades ago, is ready to help launch Microsoft’s first foray into original programming, Variety has confirmed.

Levin is in final talks to join Xbox Entertainment Studios as executive VP and second in command under former CBS chief Nancy Tellem, who joined Microsoft as the division’s president in 2012.

In his new role at the Santa Monica, Calif.-based studio, Levin would work closely with Tellem to oversee the types of original programming that Microsoft would produce for its Xbox Live platform, available through its Xbox 360 and Xbox One video game consoles and mobile devices. Service has over 50 million subscribers worldwide.

So far, projects that have been announced include a series based on Xbox’s hit “Halo” franchise that Steven Spielberg will produce, as well as reality or documentary fare like the Mandalay Sports Media-produced soccer series “Every Street United;” a project from Lightbox filmmakers Simon Chinn (“Man on a Wire”) and Jonathan Chinn (“American High”); and “Street Dreams,” a half-hour series loosely based on the life of hip hop artist Nas.

Levin, who is also chairman of the board at NATPE, has been considering other options since youth-skewing entertainment companies Alloy Digital and Break Media merged last year to form Defy Media, sources say. Alloy acquired Levin’s TV and digital management and production shingle Generate in 2012, but the exec didn’t have a key leadership role at Defy, and wasn’t looking to return to a traditional executive role at another TV network or studio.

While at Generate, Levin already had been experimenting with online content, working with brands and Hollywood’s creative community to tell new kinds of stories on digital platforms. Generate produced AMC’s web series tied to “The Walking Dead.”

As more audiences gravitate toward online entertainment, Levin has said that he believes companies can only make money through subscription-based business models — something Netflix is proving with its original series like “House of Cards.” Microsoft charges around $60 a year for access to Xbox Live.

Microsoft could use an experienced TV executive. While Tellem is well respected, the exec has been slow to greenlight her first slate of series. Microsoft has yet to announce a release date for any of its shows.

Tellem, however, has built up an impressive roster of executives that report to her. They include former AMC exec Ari Mark, who heads unscripted programming; Jada Miranda and Lydia Antonini as senior VPs of creative; former Mandeville Films production and development exec Albert Page as VP of creative; Michele DiLorenzo as senior VP of strategy and business development; and Fourth Wall Studios-founder Elan Lee as its chief design officer.

More Biz

  • Sammy Shore Dead: Comedy Store Co-Founder

    Sammy Shore, Co-Founder of The Comedy Store, Dies at 92

    Sammy Shore, the well-known stand-up comedian who co-founded The Comedy Store in Hollywood, died in Las Vegas, Nev. from natural causes. He was 92. Shore founded The Comedy Store with writing partner Rudy Deluca on April 7, 1972. His ex-wife, Mitzi Shore, took ownership of the club in the divorce settlement, and the venue went [...]

  • Outlander Season 4 Finale

    What CBS' Pursuit of Starz Means for CBS, Lionsgate

    CBS’ effort to buy pay TV service Starz from Lionsgate seems on the surface to be a head scratcher. CBS has told Wall Street for years that it has prospered because it brings only two must-have services to the table in negotiations with MVPDs, allowing the Eye to drive a hard bargain. Why would CBS [...]

  • Dana Brunetti

    Dana Brunetti Sues to Block Season 2 of 'Manhunt'

    Producer Dana Brunetti filed suit on Friday seeking to block the second season of the anthology series “Manhunt,” which is set to dramatize the bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Brunetti sued Lionsgate, the production company, as well as Discovery Communications and Charter Communications. Brunetti, the producer of “Fifty Shades of Grey” and many other [...]

  • PledgeMusic Sends Message to Artists, Offers

    PledgeMusic Sends Message to Artists, Offers Data From Platform

    PledgeMusic, the direct-to-fan marketplace that is headed into administration (the British equivalent of bankruptcy), today posted a note to artists and fans, offering the ability for artists to download their data from the platform. A source tells Variety that more information will be coming once an administrator is named — when that happens, at some [...]

  • Spanish actress and member of the

    AIG and AS Talents Announce Agency Tie-Up (EXCLUSIVE)

    David Unger’s talent, management and branding venture, Artist International Group, has partnered with AS Talents in France, which represents leading European performers Jean Reno, Christian Clavier, Elza Zylberstein and Rossy de Palma. Paris-based AS Talents is headed by Alexandra Schamis. The move, announced Friday on the sidelines of the Cannes Film Festival, is the latest [...]

  • I.M. Pei dead

    I.M. Pei, Architect of CAA Building and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Dies at 102

    I.M. Pei, the architect behind the CAA building in Beverly Hills and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, died on Thursday. He was 102. One of the most famous architects of his time, Pei designed numerous famous buildings around the world before retiring in 1990. Born in China, he moved to the United States [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content