Meta Terminates Facebook Watch Originals Entertainment Group
A Meta spokesman acknowledged the company’s decision to shut down its originals division but declined to further explain.
By Omotayo Olutekunbi
Variety has learned that Meta is closing the Facebook Watch originals group, which had a modest slate of programming, including the popular “Red Table Talk” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, as part of broader cost-cutting measures.
A Meta spokesman acknowledged the company’s decision to shut down its originals division but declined to further explain. Deadline was the first to report the news.
Mina Lefevre, head of development and programming for the division, is leaving the firm as a result of Facebook Watch originals being discontinued. Lefevre worked as MTV’s head of narrative development before joining Meta (formerly known as Facebook) in 2017. Lefevre at Meta answered Ricky Van Veen, vice president of creative strategy.
After laying off 11,000 employees by the end of 2022, Lefevre’s departure from Meta coincides with the corporation reducing 10,000 jobs overall. As its revenue increased by 3% during the first quarter of 2023, Meta reported first-quarter 2023 results on Wednesday that exceeded Wall Street estimates.
Facebook Watch’s original programming initially included both scripted and unscripted content, but in more recent years, the business has focused exclusively on unscripted content. The programming it is now airing includes “Red Table Talk” and the Steve Harvey discussion show “Steve on Watch.”
The “Red Table Talk” series is produced by Westbrook Studios, which Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith cofounded. The firm is reportedly searching for a new distributor now that the Facebook Watch arrangement has expired. Willow Smith, Pinkett Smith’s daughter, and Adrienne “Gammy” Banfield-Norris (seen above) both appeared on the chat show that won a Daytime Emmy. Facebook users that follow “Red Table Talk” total 11 million. Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily, and her niece Lili appeared in the spinoff “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” which was produced by Westbrook.
The “Red Table Talk” discussion show with Jada Pinkett Smith and the drama “Sorry for Your Loss,” starring Elizabeth Olsen and about a widow grieving the death of her husband, are two examples of the social media platform’s original projects that have made an impact on the culture. Furthermore, after being canceled by NBC, Steve Harvey’s daytime program was revived by Facebook as “Steve on Watch,” which would premiere on Facebook on January 6 and continue for 10 weeks.
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