EXCLUSIVE: Facebook Watch has opted not to renew its original series Sorry For Your Loss, starring Elizaeth Olsen, for a third season and Limetown, headlined by Jessica Biel, for a second. The critically praised Sorry For Your Loss is being shopped around to other platforms, I hear.
Facebook Watch still has several scripted series in the pipeline, which will be released as planned. Going forward, the company will be paring down significantly their scripted development efforts. Word around town is that Facebook is leaving the scripted business. Sources close to the situation indicate that Facebook is not closing the door completely on original scripted programming if the right project came along but its focus is shifting to unscripted fare where it’s had more success and better traction with Facebook users.
Among Facebook Watch’s most popular originals are the Daytime Emmy-nominated Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith as well as Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe. Facebook Watch recently signaled that its doubling down its efforts in the arena with a high-profile deal to reboot Steve Harvey’s TV talk show as Steve on Watch.
Facebook Watch’s pullback from original scripted series to focus on unscripted shows is reminiscent of a similar move another unit of a tech giant, Google’s YouTube, made about a year ago. Both companies entered the original scripted space with lofty ambitions and significant budgets.
Both had some success, YouTube with Cobra Kai, Facebook Watch with Sorry For Your Loss, which received great reviews (94% on Fresh Tomatoes) and ran for two seasons, as well as The Real Bros of Simi Valley.
But breaking into the overcrowded original streaming space dominated by entrenched incumbents is not easy, and ad-supported social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube built on user-generated content have proven more conducive to unscripted content.
Facebook Watch’s upcoming scripted series include the third season of The Real Bros of Simi Valley, which premieres February 14. It stars Jimmy Tatro, Nick Colletti, Tanner Petulla and Cody Ko and is produced by Studio71. Season two of Blumhouse Television’s Sacred Lies is debuting on February 20 .It stars Juliette Lewis, Ryan Kwanten, Jordan Alexander and Kristen Bauer.
Additionally, Facebook Watch has an exclusive five-series deal with digital studio Crypt TV, founded by Eli Roth and Jack Davis and backed by Jason Blum. The first series under the deal, The Birch, launched this fall
Created by Kit Steinkellner and starring and executive produced by Olsen, Sorry For Your Loss was a dark comedy exploring the life of a young widow struggling to put her life back together after her husband’s loss. Kelly Marie Tran, Jovan Adepo, Mamoudou Athie and Janet McTeer also starred.
Limetown, starring and executive produced by Biel, and based on the popular podcast of the same name, hailed from Endeavor Content and Midnight Radio. Stanley Tucci, Omar Elba and Sherri Saum also starred.
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