×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Facebook in Talks for Cristiano Ronaldo Reality Show, Which Could Be Its Biggest Original Yet (EXCLUSIVE)

Facebook is in discussions for what could be its biggest original series deal to date: a reality show about global soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, Variety has learned.

The social giant is in talks to bring the Ronaldo docu-series to Facebook Watch, its video platform for TV-style content, according to multiple sources. Facebook is prepped to invest substantial coin in the project: The Portuguese footballer could get a paycheck of around $10 million for the 13-episode show, sources say.

CAA is packaging the series, to be produced by Matador Content and Religion of Sports, a sports-media firm founded by Gotham Chopra, Michael Strahan, Tom Brady and production company Dirty Robber. Sources differed on how advanced the negotiations are; one said a deal is close to being finalized while another characterized the talks as nascent.

Reps for Facebook, CAA and Religion of Sports declined to comment. Matador founder and CEO Jay Peterson did not respond to a request for information.

Ronaldo is the most popular athlete on Facebook — he has more than 120 million followers for his official page — and is among the most-recognized sports celebrities in the world. He plays for Spanish pro team Real Madrid and the national Portugal team, which was eliminated from the 2018 World Cup last Saturday after losing to Uruguay in the round of 16.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo is already in business with Facebook. The company has ordered a scripted drama series from Ronaldo and Paul Lee’s newly launched studio, wiip, for Facebook Watch. That show is about a diverse high-school girls soccer team in upstate New York that inspires the local community to transcend racial, ethnic and class differences dividing it.

Facebook has funded a few dozen original shows for Watch over the past year. With a price tag north of $10 million, the Ronaldo project would be the most aggressive bet so far to acquire high-profile content with worldwide appeal by the team headed by Ricky Van Veen, head of global creative strategy.

Sports-related programming in particular has done well out of the initial batch of Facebook Watch originals. Those include “Ball in the Family,” following LaVar Ball, his wife, Tina, and his basketball-playing brood, including son Lonzo. The show, which has 1.5 million followers and is now in its third season, comes from Bunim-Murray Productions, the company behind such popular reality-TV fare as “Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

According to sources, the Ronaldo reality show would be patterned on Tom Brady docu-series “Tom vs. Time,” which follows the 40-year-old New England Patriots QB both on and off the field in his 18th season in the NFL.

“Tom vs. Time” debuted on Facebook Watch this past January just before Brady and the New England Patriots were defeated in Super Bowl LII by the Philadelphia Eagles. Episodes of the show, produced by Religion of Sports, have been viewed nearly 52 million times to date on Facebook.

— Cynthia Littleton contributed to this report.

More TV

  • adidas game of thrones

    5 New 'Game of Thrones' Collaborations Coming in Time for the Final Season

    Some of the biggest lifestyle brands in the world are jumping on the “Game of Thrones” bandwagon this spring, hoping to capitalize on the fandom and popularity of the HBO hit, as it enters its eighth and final season. From sneakers to spirits, these officially-licensed collaborations extend the characters and colors of the show beyond [...]

  • Nicole Richie

    Nicole Richie Joins Fox Comedy Pilot 'Richard Lovely'

    Nicole Richie has been cast in a series regular role in the Fox single-cam comedy pilot “Richard Lovely.” The project follows Richard Lovely (Thomas Lennon), the disgruntled author of the best-selling children’s book series, “Mr. Mouse.” He doesn’t hate children, but rather just everything about them. After a publicity fiasco involving an unexpectedly savvy 9-year-old [...]

  • Lachlan Murdoch

    New Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch Announces All Employees to Receive Stock in Company

    The new standalone entity Fox Corp. held a town hall on Thursday, just over a day after the official closing of the 21st Century Fox-Disney merger. Fox Corp. chairman and CEO Lachlan Murdoch led the meeting, at which sources say he announced that all employees would receive stock in the new company. The amount of [...]

  • Deadwood

    'Deadwood' Movie Drops First Trailer, Premiere Date

    HBO is taking fans back to Deadwood. Nearly 13 years after the hit Western series ended, HBO Films has released the first look at “Deadwood: The Movie.” The film will premiere on the network on May 31. Series regulars Ian McShane, Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker and John Hawkes will reprise their roles in the film, [...]

  • Jeaninne Pirro

    Fox News Will Keep Jeanine Pirro Off Schedule for Another Week

    “Justice With Judge Jeanine,” the Saturday-night opinion show led by Jeanine Pirro, will be off the Fox News schedule for a second week in the wake of remarks she made about a Muslim congresswoman. The network’s online schedule shows that it will run another repeat of the documentary series “Scandalous” in its place Saturday night [...]

  • Drew Goddard

    Drew Goddard Inks Exclusive Overall Deal With 20th Century Fox TV

    Writer, director and producer Drew Goddard has signed an exclusive, multiyear overall deal with 20th Century Fox Television, under which he will write, create, direct and develop new TV series for the studio across all platforms. Goddard’s deal, announced by Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment chairman Dana Walden, is the first to close since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content