9:34am PT by Natalie Jarvey
Facebook Orders Elizabeth Olsen Half-Hour Dramedy
Facebook has given a straight-to-series order to a female-driven dramedy starring Elizabeth Olsen.
The untitled series was created and written by Kit Steinkellner (Z: The Beginning of Everything).
Switched at Birth creator Lizzy Weiss is set to serve as showrunner. Olsen and James Ponsoldt (Master of None) will executive produce. Ponsoldt will also direct the pilot and multiple episodes of the half-hour series, the plot of which is being kept under wraps.
The half-hour series is part of Facebook's push to offer more television-quality projects via its Watch video platform ,after it focused on lower budget, midform series during the platform's first six months. The series has been given a 10-episode order.
Also executive producing are Robin Schwartz, Marc Turtletaub and Peter Saraf for Big Beach TV, which will serve as the studio, and Cynthia Pett, Brad Petrigala and Jon Liebman for Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Avy Kaufman (The Night Of, Damages) will cast the series.
"I couldn't be prouder of the group we have brought together for this show," said Olsen. "Kit's story has been near and dear to me for years and I can't wait to share our dark, funny and complicated show with the world."
Facebook introduced Watch in late August with a slate of projects including scripted comedies Loosely Exactly Nicole and Strangers, as well as unscripted series Ball in the Family and Returning the Favor with Mike Rowe. Many of the projects were designed to be under 20 minutes in length.
Now that Watch has been live for a few months, Facebook has focused its strategy on projects that connect its community and encourage engagement and interactivity. Further, the social network will no longer partially fund shows and is said to want to spend more on a smaller number of high-profile projects. Other projects in the works include Five Points, a Chicago-set high school drama executive produced by Kerry Washington, and the English-language adaptation of Norwegian drama Skam from producer Simon Fuller.
Olsen, who most recently starred in Wind River and Ingrid Goes West, is repped by Gersh, Brillstein and Sloane Offer Weber and Dern. Steinkellner is a playwright whose debut graphic novel, Quince, will publish this fall. She is also working on a TV adaptation of Mad About Men for Sundial Pictures. She is repped by ICM Partners, Circle of Confusion and Felker Toczek Suddleson and Abramson. Weiss is repped by UTA.