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Microsoft said Tuesday that it has hired Tellem, who has been considering the move since at least June, as its president of Entertainment & Digital Media. She’ll report to Phil Spencer, corporate vp of Microsoft Studios.
Tellem is based in Los Angeles, where she’ll help launch a production studio for traditional-type TV programming as well as more innovative, interactive content.
Microsoft said it will introduce this month “2-way TV experiences” from Sesame Workshop and National Geographic.
Tellem stepped down as president of the CBS Network TV Entertainment Group two years ago and has been a senior adviser to CBS chief executive Leslie Moonves ever since.
“I am excited to be a part of the continued evolution of Xbox from a gaming console to the hub of every household’s entertainment experience,” Tellem said.
While Xbox Live boasts 40 million members, it’s still not top-of-mind among many consumers looking for on-demand movies and TV shows. And Microsoft’s Zune Marketplace, of course, is nowhere near as popular iTunes. Tellem, just as much an afficianado of new media as she is of old-school television, would be expected to remedy those situations.
“The Xbox is already a consumer favorite,” Tellem said, “and we now have a tremendous opportunity to transform it into the center of all things entertainment — from games, music and fitness to news, sports, live events, television series and movies — so consumers have one destination for all their entertainment needs.”
Tellem helped create shows like ER and Friends, and was responsible for lineups that included CSI and Everybody Loves Raymond.
In 2009, The Hollywood Reporter named Tellem the third most powerful woman in Hollywood, right after Oprah Winfrey.
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