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Microsoft Studios hires UK celeb Jonathan Ross as executive producer


British chat show host Jonathan Ross is the unexpected newest member of Microsoft's Xbox team, bringing his "unparalleled understanding for audience trends" to UK studios like Lionhead, Lift London, Rare, and Soho Productions, according to a press release.

Ross, one of British TV's most famous faces across the last two decades, isn't as peripheral to gaming as he may seem. While the 52-year-old Londoner is maybe best known in gaming circles for spilling the beans on Fable 3, he's also regarded for having an avid interest in the medium - I chatted with him at this year's BAFTA awards where he talked very knowledgeably about the nominees. Also, his production company collaborated on iOS and Android game Catcha Catcha Aliens, in which he had a hand with the design.

That said, it's not clear how Ross will specifically aid the Xbox team. At a London event Eurogamer attended this week, Microsoft corporate VP Phil Harrison said his company hired the celeb to help "change our thinking."

Meanwhile, Life London head Lee Schuneman said, "Microsoft Studios is focused on creating the best in class cross-media entertainment, with Lift London specifically looking at creating IP across multiple channels. Jonathan will be a huge asset for us as he really knows how to connect to mass audiences with an impressive understanding for audience tastes and trends."

The questions remains: Who will Sony and Nintendo hire to compete with Ross? What could Oprah bring to the PlayStation 4, or Ellen to the Wii U? Answers on a postcard, please.

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