Facebook has ordered three new shows for its Watch platform, two unscripted series – Bear Grylls: Face the Wild, and Fly Guys, an action series with Europe's top stunt performers – alongside a half-hour drama called Sacred Lies, from two former crew members of HBO's True Blood. The announcements were made at the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE).
In Face the Wild, which debuts March 21, Grylls will select 10 fans off Facebook who will accompany him on an adventure to face the wild. The participants will then share their experiences on the social network as they learn from the renowned survival expert and TV presenter.
“This series is a special chance for me to connect with and celebrate some of the many unsung heroes I get to hear about through Facebook – and above all to have an adventure with them," Grylls said in a statement. "These are the fans that inspire me the most, and it has been so moving to be a part of this journey. Thank you Facebook Watch for helping us pull this off."
The show will be produced by Bear Grylls Ventures (BGV) and Electus. Grylls and Delbert Shoopman are executive producers for BGV, while Chris Grant, Drew Buckley, Rob Buchta and Justin Dudek are doing the same for Electus.
Fly Guys, which arrives on February 2, follows a crew of Europe's best acrobats and professional stunt people as they trek across Eastern Europe finding, designing and executing "gravity-defying physical performances". It’ll have a total of 10 episodes as well, about 12-15 minutes in length.
“This series is non-stop action, with extraordinary visuals and a scientific method to the madness, all assembled by a squad of extremely gifted acrobatic performs,” said Josh Entman, co-founder and chief creative officer of Jukin Media, the show's producer. “This is a motley crew of craftsmen, mathematicians, engineers, and performers who can pretty much pull off any imaginable stunt.”
That leaves Sacred Lies (working title), which is based on the classic Grimm Brothers tale The Handless Maiden, and Stephanie Oakes’ novel The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly, which has been updated by True Blood executive producer Raelle Tucker. Director Scott Winant will work alongside her for the 10-episode series.
The show is about "a handless teen who escapes from a cult and finds herself in juvenile detention, suspected of knowing who killed her cult leader", according to Deadline. Blumhouse Television will produce the show, whose movie front is behind films such as Get Out, Split, and Paranormal Activity.
There's no release date for the show, but it'll available for free to all Facebook members on the Watch tab on mobile, desktop, and Facebook's TV apps. While the last of the three new shows suggests Facebook wants to go up against Netflix and Amazon, its chief has ruled out doing prestige dramas.
"We're not going to win by competing in prestige hourlong dramas," Ricky Van Veen told The Hollywood Reporter. "What's going to differentiate us is a show that uses social fabric." He cited basketball reality show Ball in the Family and rights to Lithuanian basketball as core to their strategy.