Netflix has Orange is the New Black, Amazon has Transparent, Hulu has The Handmaid's Tale, and Apple has… Planet of the Apps. Now, another web giant is trying the original programming game: Facebook.
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According to The Wall Street Journal, Facebook is in talks with "Hollywood studios and agencies about producing TV-quality shows." The report, citing unnamed people "familiar with the matter," says Facebook plans to launch its original programming at some point before the end of this summer, with shows aimed at viewers in the 13- to 34-year-old range.
In a statement to PCMag, Facebook's Vice President of Media Partnerships, Nick Grudin, confirmed that the company is "supporting a small group of partners and creators as they experiment with the kinds of shows you can build a community around—from sports to comedy to reality to gaming," adding that they're "focused on episodic shows."
"We're funding these shows directly now, but over time we want to help lots of creators make videos funded through revenue sharing products," Grudin added.
Facebook "appears to be seeking shows along the lines of the drama 'Pretty Little Liars' on Freeform… or similar to ABC's 'Scandal' and reality hit 'The Bachelor,'" the Journal reports.
Facebook has already given a greenlight to Refinery 29's drama Strangers, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and is "nearing a deal" for a reboot of MTV's Loosely Exactly Nicole, which Viacom cancelled earlier this year after one season. The Journal also corroborated an earlier report that Facebook has ordered the reality competition series Last State Standing, from the producers of American Ninja Warrior.
Facebook has apparently budgeted a pretty penny for this push into original content: up to $3 million per episode, which is about the same price as other premium TV shows, according to the report. The company is also interested in "more moderate-cost scripted shows in the mid-to-high six-figure-per-episode range," the newspaper's sources say. Facebook is also reportedly soliciting short-form, mostly unscripted content from creators like BuzzFeed and Refinery 29.
Unlike Netflix and Amazon, Facebook is planning to release its shows one episode at a time, the Journal notes. The social network also isn't interested in programs "about children and young teens as well as political dramas, news and shows with nudity and rough language."