Just last week, Nancy Tellem, president of entertainment and digital for Microsoft, said that original shows would launch on the company’s Xbox videogame consoles early next year. Now she has greenlit the first original series for Xbox, a series of nonfiction films about the digital revolution.
The show comes from Lightbox, a new multi-platform media company just launched by Academy Award-winning producer Simon Chinn (“Searching for Sugar Man,” “Man on Wire”) and Emmy Award winning producer Jonathan Chinn (“American High,” “30 Days”).
The first film in the series will investigate the events surrounding the “great video game burial of 1983” when Atari Corporation, confronting negative responses to “ET the Video Game” reportedly buried millions of unsold game cartridges in New Mexico. Zak Penn (“X-Men 2,” “Avengers”) will direct the first film.
The series will begin shooting in January and will air exclusively on Xbox One and Xbox 360 next year. It will be available globally everywhere where Xbox Live is supported.
Also in the works at Microsoft is a series based on its “Halo” franchise with Steven Spielberg producing, and “Every Street United,” a docuseries about soccer around the world from Mandalay Entertainment.
Based in London and Los Angeles, Lightbox is currently developing projects for a variety of outlets, including broadcast network and cable, on-demand subscription services and online distribution platforms in both the U.S. and U.K.
“Our careers have taken different paths, but we have always had a strongly shared sensibility and approach to non-fiction — mine at the more commercial end of feature documentary, Jonathan’s at the more thoughtful end of reality. I am incredibly excited by the creative opportunities that exist to break new ground and find new audiences for our content,” said Simon Chinn, co-founder of Lightbox.
Jonathan Chinn, co-founder of Lightbox, added: “With so many new distribution opportunities now available, our ability to combine the highest quality content with broad commercial appeal will, we hope, make us stand out for a whole array of buyers hungry for the best in non-fiction programming.”