Facebook Watch has given a series commitment with penalty to a scripted drama from international soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo, Memphis Beat creators Liz Garcia and Josh Harto, and Paul Lee’s recently launched independent studio, wiip.
Written by Garcia and Harto, the as-yet untitled project follows a high school girls soccer team in upstate New York as the team’s melting pot line-up and winning streak invites the community to overcome deep divisions along racial, ethnic and class lines by rallying around the universal language of the beautiful game. The show also explores the ups and downs of teenage life, as players maneuver love, friendships and family.
Garcia and Harto executive produce with Ronaldo. Wiip is producing.
The project marks wiip’s second series order at Facebook, coming on the heels of Queen America, starring Catherine Zeta Jones, created by Meaghan Oppenheimer and executive produced by Bruna Papandrea’s Made Up Stories, Entertainment 360 and Janice Williams. wiip (word.idea.imagination.production) is led by former ABC Entertainment Group president Lee and backed by CAA.
“This is a high-end series with global appeal, set against the backdrop of the world’s most popular sport, and created in partnership with the world’s best footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, and remarkable storytellers Liz and Josh,” said Lee. “And, we are thrilled to partner again with Facebook Watch.
A forward for both Real Madrid C.F. and the Portugal national team, Ronaldo is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time. He is the five-time recipient of the coveted Ballon d’Or, has won the FIFA Best Player in the World twice and the European Golden Shoe four times, in addition to a multitude of other awards and accolades. His popularity extends off the pitch, especially on Facebook and Instagram, with 122 million followers on Facebook and 124 million on Instagram.
“In my free time, one of the things I like to do is to watch good television,” said Ronaldo. “To be the executive producer of this series is going to be an amazing experience, especially given the talent of the people who are working very hard to bring it to life. The story of my life has many similarities with the highs and lows the girls varsity soccer team will face in the series. While the series is set against the background of soccer, it goes much deeper than just the beautiful game. It’s about values, challenges, friendship, difficult times, hard work, solidarity, tensions, and harmony. In a word – it’s about life.”
“People all over the world turn to Facebook to connect with friends and family,” said Garcia and Harto. “It’s incredibly exciting to be sharing that format, and building off that feeling of intimacy, to create stories about young women stepping into their strength.”
Garcia and Harto were the creators of TNT’s Memphis Beat, produced by George Clooney. Garcia wrote and directed One Percent More Humid, a coming-of-age dramedy, produced by Garcia and Harto and starring Juno Temple, Julia Garner, and Alessandro Nivola, which premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival. Garcia also served as Co-Executive Producer on USA’s drama The Sinner, starring Jessica Biel.
“Through our relationship with wiip, we are uniquely positioned to create compelling content opportunities for our sports clients who have an interest in producing,” said Michael Levine, Co-Head, CAA Sports. “CAA Sports and our partners at Polaris Sports are thrilled to participate in this project alongside our client Cristiano Ronaldo to bring this series to audiences around the globe to enjoy.”
Garcia and Harto are repped by CAA, Madhouse Entertainment, and attorney Jeff Frankel. Ronaldo is repped by CAA and Polaris Sports.