7 items from 2017
This past week, Facebook rolled out Watch, a new platform promoting a lineup of TV shows ranging from reality fare like “Returning the Favor” and “Ball in the Family” to the scripted comedy “Strangers.” Another high-profile series is “Humans of New York,” which comes from the creator of the popular website and books. In all likelihood, Facebook’s Watch we see today is going to undergo changes as the company responds to how its users interact with this new platform. But given the company’s big push behind Watch — a rollout which included several new series and a new vertical for Facebook users — Variety’s TV critics discuss the launch of the platform and their thoughts on Facebook’s entry into TV.
Maureen Ryan: So after spending a good chunk of time poking around Facebook’s TV — or TV-ish — programming, I’m not exactly overwhelmed by what the platform has rolled out. There »
- Sonia Saraiya and Maureen Ryan
Facebook continues drive into TV-like content.
Facebook is launching a video platform that could see it make inroads into the space currently occupied by Youtube and SVoD giants Netflix and Amazon.
Dubbed Watch, the platform will present users with a variety of video content based on what their social network is tuning into, and allow them to create a Watchlist so they can keep up with regular shows.
Alongside its plan to broadcast one Major League Baseball game a week, in a blog post announcing the news the social media giant name-checked a raft of short form programming that will be available on the new platform.
These include: Nas Daily [pictured], in which the online personality broadcasts daily videos from around the world; Gabby Bernstein, where the bestselling author and life coach connects with fans to answer questions in real time; Kitchen Little, in which kids watch a recipe video and then instruct a professional chef on how »
- email@example.com (Tom Grater)
- Joseph A. Wulfsohn
For months, we’ve awaited more information about the sort of shows Facebook plans to distribute as it elbows its way into the crowded world of original programming. Now, thanks to a report from Deadline, we have some new details. Facebook has greenlit Returning The Favor, which will star former TV host Mike Rowe, as well as a currently-untitled documentary series that will follow basketball player Lonzo Ball and his outspoken father Lavar.
Returning The Favor, which Rowe shared on his personal Facebook page, will continue to build its host’s reputation as a true blue-collar American with a passion sharing the stories of our society’s underappreciated citizens. He cultivated that image while spearheading the Discovery program Dirty Jobs, but this time, instead of trying his hand at unusual occupations, he will herald unsung heroes, including a motorcycle mechanic who works with veterans suffering from Ptsd.
The Ball family »
- Sam Gutelle
You could spend $425 on so many things: a round-trip ticket to L.A. A fancy hotel room in the city of your choice. A designer pair of sunglasses. Or you could forget all that and pick up a pair of $425 Prps “Barracuda” jeans at Nordstrom, which come pre-coated in their own mud.
Not convinced? Allow the style description to explain: “Heavily distressed medium-blue denim jeans in a comfortable straight-leg fit embody rugged, Americana workwear that’s seen some hard-working action with a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty.”
Still not convinced? »
- Alex Apatoff
Bill Holderman, Unified’s Keith Kjarval, Bona Fide Productions’ Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger, and June Pictures’ Alex Saks and Andrew Duncan will produce. Swank will executive produce, along with the Fyzz Facility’s Wayne Godfrey and Robert Jones, and Interlock Capital’s Levi Sheck and Mike Rowe.
The story follows Swank’s character, who has to travel back home to help take care of her mother (Danner), whose Alzheimer’s takes a turn for the worse after an incident on Christmas Eve.
Shannon plays her brother, Forster plays Swank’s father, and Farmiga plays her daughter. Production is set to start next week in Chicago. »
- Justin Kroll
With its attention-grabbing videos, Attn: has become a well-circulated brand on Facebook, where its official page has close to 3.6 million likes. Now, with a new web series, Attn: is looking to see if its politically-conscious formula can be a hit on YouTube. The series is called Paying Attention, and it features interviews with celebrities like George Takei.
Paying Attention is hosted by Matthew Segal, Attn:’s co-founder. In each episode, Segal sits down with a famous guest and picks his or her brain on a number of topics, many of which lie within the political realm. Up first is Takei, a former TV star and a Facebook thought leader in his own right. Future episodes will see Segal chat with the likes of Robert Reich, Mike Rowe, and Keith Ellison.
Much of the content Attn: shares on Facebook leans to the left, and the company owes much of its success »
- Sam Gutelle
7 items from 2017
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