Facebook has ordered an English remake of the Norwegian web series Skam for its new Watch platform, Variety reports. The series will be produced by Simon Fuller’s XIX Entertainment, which secured the rights to produce the English-language version earlier this year.
The original show, which ran for four seasons as a web series produced by Norway’s public broadcasting network NRK, was wildly popular in its home country and eventually developed an international fanbase centered around Tumblr. NRK geo-blocked its web player after the series blew up in other parts of Europe, the UK, and the United States, and the series ended in January of this year with the vague promise of an English-language remake. It’s a teen drama similar to Skins, and was critically acclaimed for its handling of issues like homophobia, sexual assault, and mental illness.
The show was also a topic of conversation because of its novel release strategy. Skam (which translates to “Shame” in English), debuted new content nearly every day before repackaging clips into a more traditional episode format. The Atlantic’s Boyd Van Hoeij credited it with streaming television’s first compelling alternative to binge-watching: “The Internet has made it possible to binge-watch an entire season in a single sitting. But as Skam shows, it also allows for the exact opposite: for a show to drip-feed a season over the course of a dozen weeks, in a super-incremental fashion. This approach created a sense of anticipation and surprise, as it was never clear when new material might be coming.”
“it felt like I was seeing the future of storytelling.”
Speaking at the entertainment trade show MIPCOM in Cannes last night, Facebook’s head of global creative strategy Ricky Van Veen announced the remake saying, “When I first heard about Skam, it felt like I was seeing the future of storytelling.” Facebook’s English version of the show will reportedly follow the same release strategy as the original.
Skam is one of several recent acquisitions for Facebook’s Watch, including a 30-minute drama based on the popular photo blog Humans of New York, and Five Points, a teen drama set in Chicago and executive produced by Kerry Washington. Its first batch of shows included MTV’s recently scrapped Loosely Exactly Nicole, a reality show about Lavar Ball, and various branded documentary-style series.
In September, The Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook would spend up to $1 billion on original content for the platform in 2018.