Facebook is reportedly in talks with Hollywood executives about original scripted shows

Facebook sets Hollywood in its sights with scripted programming move

Facebook is reportedly looking to extend its tentacles into Hollywood Boulevard by championing a new wave of scripted TV programming aimed at 13 to 34-year-olds by late summer.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the social network is in talks with LA-based studios and agencies around the creation of original, scripted shows.

Perhaps mindful of ongoing criticism around the platform's role in the spread of fake news and its stance on moderation, Facebook will apparently seek to nip any controversy in the bud by avoiding difficult subjects like news and politics, as well as banning nudity and foul language.

Instead the TV-grade shows, which are reported to be budgeted at up to $3m per episode, will focus on non-contentious dramas, reality programming and game shows. Facebook is thought to have already scheduled meetings with talent agencies to hit the ground running in a race to own as much video content as possible.

While the company has declined to comment on the specifics of the report, Facebook’s vice-president of media partnerships, Nick Grudin, told the WSJ: "We're 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. We're focused on episodic shows and helping all our partners understand what works across different verticals and topics."

It is expected that the first content to see the light of day will be a millennial relationship drama called Strangers and the game show Last State Standing.

Should Facebook enter the highly congested market, it will need to face off against the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, all of which have amassed significant content libraries with which to lure subscribers.

Facebook's content ambitions were thrown into further focus over the weekend when it unveiled a video creation app for influencers as it seeks to muscle in on YouTube's turf.

Rumours have been circulating about Facebook's interest in producing TV-style shows since the social network hired CollegeHumour founder Ricky Van Veen as head of global creative strategy last June.

John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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