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Facebook ramps up originals

Facebook’s original programming plans are gathering pace with details of two more projects, including a series featuring Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe, now emerging.

Returning the Favor follows Rowe as he criss-crosses the US searching for people who are helping others in their communities, while an as-yet-untitled docuseries will follow the Ball family, whose three sons are fledgling basketball stars.

Production details, along with the length and number of episodes, remain under wraps but the shows are part of a push to create a community of programme makers, according to Deadline, which first reported the news.

Facebook has been trialling an ad-selling service called Audience Direct that would allow creators to sell space directly to brands.

The shows join other video projects on Facebook’s slate such as reality competition series State Standing, from American Ninja Warrior producer A Smith & Co. It sees contestants from across the US compete in a series of challenges for the chance to win a US$500,000 prize.

Other TV-style content planned includes a revival of cancelled MTV comedy Loosely Exactly Nicole.

The social media giant is said to have a string of other unscripted and scripted shows in development, with budgets reportedly as high as US$250,000 per episode.

Facebook recently hired MTV exec VP of scripted development Mina Lefevre as head of original content development, reporting to its video content chief Ricky Van Veen, hired last year from CollegeHumour.

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