When Microsoft hired former CBS Television Studios president Nancy Tellem, it was a declaration of war on the TV powers that be. Microsoft made its intent clear: it’s gunning for a piece of the Netflix, Hulu, and even cable provider pie with the Next Xbox. “The Xbox is already a consumer favorite and we now have a tremendous opportunity to transform it into the center of all things entertainment,” said Tellem. The expectation was that she would bring to bare the same programming savvy that made CBS an enduring success with shows like Survivor and CSI.
Those were new shows that built an empire though. From the sound of it, Microsoft is going to build its television empire using the ashes of old success. First up on the Xbox original programming block: Heroes.
TV Line reported on Wednesday that Microsoft’s following Netflix down the rabbit hole of resurrecting last decade’s hits, this time with the superhero show Heroes. The talks are still only in the earliest stages, but there’s history between the series’ old home and Microsoft’s growing entertainment team. Microsoft hired former NBC development executive Jada Miranda to be Tellem’s second in command this past February.
Miranda’s history with NBC wasn’t exactly sterling. Beginning in 2010, she developed new hour-long dramas like The Firm and The Playboy Club, looking to establish a fantasy or period hit to match bruisers like AMC’s Mad Men. Despite the failure of those two shows, she does have a strong track record catering to the 18-to-45 male demographic that is the foundation of the Xbox business. During her eight year run at HBO, she spearheaded the development of projects like Entourage and the American run of Ricky Gervais’ Extras.
Heroes is a peculiar choice for Microsoft, though. The fan base for Arrested Development was ferocious enough to keep the cast and creative staff behind the show engaged for years after its cancellation. By the time Heroes was cancelled in 201 though, its viewership had more than halved from its reign in 2007 and its fans became increasingly disillusioned with the series.
Shows like the proposed new Heroes will start hitting Xbox Live sooner rather than later. Tellem said in February that she “hopes” Microsoft’s original video content will start heading out by the end of the year. With a new console built as an entertainment hub, Microsoft Entertainment & Digital Media better have more than hopes.