The production outfit's impending closure is part of a
sweeping restructuring announced by the software giant on
Thursday, which includes the largest single round of layoffs in
the company's near-four-decade history.
The studio, set up in 2012 under then-Chief Executive Officer
Steve Ballmer, said in April it had committed to several
projects including "Humans," a drama co-produced with UK
broadcaster Channel 4, and "Halo," a digital feature based on
the best-selling Xbox game.
Hollywood director and producer Ridley Scott is making "Halo"
and it will survive the cutback, according to the source
familiar with Microsoft's plans who was not authorized to speak
on the record.
Microsoft was among several tech companies that raced to add
original TV-like content after the release in February 2013 of
Netflix Inc's "House of Cards," a political thriller that built
buzz for streaming video and earned the first Emmy nominations
for a show delivered exclusively online.
Many are soldiering on, vying to dominate living rooms as
video-streaming becomes an increasingly popular option for
Amazon.com Inc is preparing to release a second season of the
John Goodman comedy "Alpha House" and two other original series
this year for Prime Instant Video.
Hulu is adding to its original productions, which already
include supernatural comedy "Deadbeat" and upcoming reality
satire "The Hotwives of Orlando."
Yahoo and Sony Corp also remain in the game and pitched
advertisers in the spring on longer-form shows. Yahoo recently
picked up canceled NBC comedy "Community" for another season.
And Sony features Jerry Seinfeld in "Comedians in Cars Getting
Coffee" on its Crackle digital network.
(Editing by Edwin Chan and Tom Brown)
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