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ABC Hopes Feel-Good Series for Facebook About Americans Uniting Goes Viral

Americans are as deeply divided as ever, but ABC sees the potential for a viral-video hit with “More in Common,” a new Facebook-funded short-form show about people from different backgrounds coming together in unexpected ways.

The first episode will bow on Saturday, July 21, at 12 p.m. ET in the recently announced news section on Facebook Watch and the show’s page (facebook.com/MoreInCommon). The premiere of “More in Common” tells the story of a softball game between Chicago police and local gang members that takes place just blocks from the city’s most deadly street corner.

“More in Common” is executive produced by ABC’s Michael Koenigs — who produced ABC News’ most viral video of 2017. Koenigs’ segment about a former neo-Nazi who decided to remove his swastika tattoos after forming a friendship with his black female parole officer currently has 51 million views on Facebook alone.

The show’s episodes may include midroll ads (which would be sold by Facebook). ABC isn’t disclosing how many episodes Facebook has ordered, but if the initial run performs well the social giant is likely to order more installments.

The weekly series comes from Disney/ABC TV’s ABC Owned Television Stations Group. Facebook is funding the weekly show, as part of its new slate of news content. “More in Common” also is the first series for Localish, a digital-focused media brand from the owned-and-operated TV group focusing on “the good in America’s cities,” launching on ABC platforms this fall.

“With deep connections in the local communities we serve, our stations are uniquely positioned to source and share stories of Americans defying the odds to come together around a common purpose,” Wendy McMahon, president of ABC Owned Television Stations Group, said in a statement.

According to ABC, “More in Common” will showcase people of various races, religions, genders and backgrounds in cities and towns across America unexpectedly finding common ground. Episodes will range from 4-8 minutes. Upcoming episodes, to run Saturdays at noon ET, will highlight the first girls to join the Boy Scouts and a North Korean defector who finds love in L.A.

In tone, “More in Common” feels akin to Mike Rowe’s “Returning the Favor,” one of Facebook’s first original series, in which the host traveled across the country to surprise and recognize local heroes. That show’s page has attracted 1.9 million followers since launching last summer.

Separately, Facebook also is funding an ABC News daily show called “On Location,” featuring top headlines and dispatches from correspondents worldwide. It’s expected to debut in early August.

Other partners Facebook is paying to produce news shows for Watch include CNN, Fox News, Univision, Bloomberg, BuzzFeed News, ATTN:, Mic, Quartz, McClatchy, NowThis and Tegna

The ABC Owned Television Stations Group includes eight stations: WABC (New York); KABC (Los Angeles); WLS (Chicago); WPVI (Philadelphia); KGO (San Francisco); KTRK (Houston; WTVD (Raleigh-Durham, N.C.); and KFSN (Fresno, Calif.).

Watch the trailer for “More in Common”:

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