Facebook has renewed four original series for second seasons, financing shows that build community and spark conversation on the Watch platform — features that the social network sees as differentiating its video service from rivals.
Five Points, Huda Boss, Sacred Lies and Sorry for Your Loss will return to Facebook Watch. These shows, which collectively drew nearly 1.3 million followers, join an increasingly diverse slate of programming that includes Jada Pinkett Smith’s breakout talk show Red Table Talk, the interactive game show Confetti and the planned return of MTV’s The Real World.
Watch appears to be gathering momentum, attracting more than 400 million monthly users who spend at least a minute checking out videos.
“With our originals, our aim is to give people programing that not only serves to entertain, but to also bring them closer together,” said Ricky Van Veen, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy. “We’ve intentionally focused on content with the potential to have an extended life on Facebook beyond the initial airing of the shows, that sparks conversations and two-way interactions.”
Huda Boss attracted some 400,000 people interested in following the life of beauty blogger-turned-entrepreneur Huda Kattan, while Five Points, Kerry Washington’s high school drama series set in Chicago, found an equally large audience.
“We were delighted by the positive conversation that S1 generated on Facebook Watch,” said Five Points executive producer Jon Avnet, of Indigenous Media.
Blumhouse’s Sacred Lies series was inspired by the young-adult novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, a young woman whose hands are chopped off in punishment for refusing to wed a self-proclaimed prophet. It returns for a second season with a new mystery and cast of characters.
Elena Kampouris, who starred as Minnow Bly, returns in a new role, with a story inspired by a new Grimm tale, “The Singing Bone.”
“I think with all the divisiveness in our world right now – people are hungry for positive connection and interaction,” said showrunner Raelle Tucker. “I have never seen thousands and thousands of people come together on the internet in such a harmonious, celebratory and positive way.”
Starring Elizabeth Olsen, Sorry for Your Loss is a dark comedy exploring the life of a young widow struggling to put her life back together after her husband’s unexpected death. Van Veen said Facebook was struck by the grief community that formed around the show, in which people supported one-another online.
“Seeing our audience embrace and champion Sorry for Your Loss and reading the comments and posts from people who feel seen and understood watching our show, has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life,” said executive producer Kit Steinkellner.
Fidji Simo, Facebook’s head of video, wrote a blog post where she described her philosophy on original programming. She wrote that in an age of “peak TV,” shows need to be more than simply entertaining. They need to provide cultivate passionate fan followings with stories they can’t get elsewhere.
Facebook provides the platform for personal connection; a place where engaging content meets its community. That’s the criteria it used in renewing the four original shows.
“These shows all cultivated deeply engaged fan bases who came for the episodes, but stayed for the conversations — and are a great example of what can happen when content and community come together seamlessly,” Simo wrote.
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