Facebook Orders ‘Last State Standing’ Reality Series

Facebook’s push into original television-style programming is continuing. The social-media company has given a greenlight to “Last State Standing,” a reality competition series from “American Ninja Warrior” producer A. Smith and Co.

The show will feature one contestant from each of the 50 states. Those contestants will compete in a series of games for a $500,000 grand prize. A. Smith and Co.’s Arthur Smith will produce.

Facebook, which has long flirted with a move into premium, television-style video content, appears to now be acting on its ambitions. The company is in talks to bring Nicole Byer’s MTV series “Loosely Exactly Nicole” back as part of  the social media giant’s push into original scripted programming.

The series ran on MTV for one season back in October 2016, where it averaged less than 200,000 viewers per episode before it was canceled. It was loosely based on Byer’s own experiences as a comedian living and working in LA. Low ratings aside, the cancellation came as MTV looked to move out of scripted fare, with the network also cancelling “Sweet/Vicious” and “Mary+Jane.” Season 2 of fantasy series “The Shannara Chronicles” will air on fellow Viacom network Spike this fall.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg first started publicly talking about spending money on what he called “anchor content” for Facebook’s video tab during the company’s most recent earnings call in May. During that same call, Facebook CFO David Wehner said that the company was looking at “kickstarting an ecosystem for longer-form content on Facebook” with upfront investments.

Facebook is prepared to pay as much as $250,000 per episode for its planned original video initiative, Reuters reported in May. The company also plans to license shorter-form content for $10,000 to $35,000 an episode, and has signed on Vox Media, BuzzFeed, ATTN, and Group Nine Media to produce videos.

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