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HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Facebook Watch gets into the quality TV game with a dramatic exploration of grieving and memory starring Elizabeth Olsen, Janet McTeer and Kelly Marie Tran.
In an all-too-glutted landscape of scripted television, the path to programming legitimacy can take a while. It’s one thing to throw a show or two on your cable network or digital platform. It isn’t always the same thing to launch a show that cuts through the clutter and demands the attention of critics and viewers alike.
AMC did it fast with Mad Men. Netflix did it fast with House of Cards. On the other hand, look at Paramount Network and its tough run before Yellowstone. Or look at the number of shows Crackle produces that I could list to probably blank stares.
As an overworked TV critic writing for an overloaded TV-watching audience, it’s my sad duty or my pleasure to report that with Sorry for Your Loss, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend and online Sept. 18, Facebook Watch is officially on the board as a potential destination for quality content.
That’s not to malign the reality shows starring Tom Brady and Lonzo Ball or something called Sacred Lies that I keep meaning to watch more of. It also isn’t to say that Sorry for Your Loss is flawless, top-tier television. It’s just the first Facebook Watch show to make me go, “OK, if this were on Showtime or Amazon, this might be in Emmy conversations.”
The series, created by Kit Steinkellner, has a strong pedigree, with Switched at Birth veteran Lizzy Weiss serving as showrunner and James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) directing early installments.
COLLIDER – Grief is a part of life. No matter who you are or where you go, you’re going to lose someone or something you love somewhere along the way. Such is the basis for Sorry for Your Loss, the new series that explore the process of grieving and learning to go on with your life. Elizabeth Olsen stars (and executive produces) as Leigh, a young woman who has to pick herself up and start over again after her husband dies unexpectedly.
The 10-episode series premieres on Facebook Watch Tuesday, September 18th with four all new episodes. Two new episodes will drop on the streaming platform every Tuesday at 6PM PT/9PM ET .
Written and created by playwright, Kit Steinkellner (Z: The Beginning of Everything), with James Pondsoldt (The Spectacular Now) executive producing and directing multiple episodes, Sorry for Your Loss also stars Kelly Marie Tran (Star Wars: The Last Jedi), Jovan Adepo (Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan), Mamoudou Athie (The Get Down), and Janet McTeer (Jessica Jones). The series will premiere at the Toronto Film Festival before heading to Facebook Watch. See the first trailer below.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“Sorry For Your Loss is a half hour drama on Facebook Watch that stars Elizabeth Olsen as Leigh Shaw, a young widow struggling to put her life back together in the wake of her husband’s unexpected death. The show is simultaneously devastating and uplifting, with grounded, flawed characters desperate to find humor anywhere they can. The series dives into grief as an unavoidable, universal, transformative part of life. Leigh’s journey will teach us that grief is not something merely to endure, medicate away or “muscle through,” but an essential part of the human experience.”
Leigh (Elizabeth Olsen) is trying to move on.
In Facebook Watch’s Sorry For Your Loss, Olsen (who also serves as an executive producer) plays a young widow who, following the sudden death of her husband, finds her life — and every relationship in it — changed by the event. Written and created by playwright Kit Steinkellner (Amazon’s Z: The Beginning of Everything), the half-hour drama also stars Kelly Marie Tran (in her first role since joining the Star Wars franchise), Jovan Adepo (The Leftovers), Mamoudou Athie (Unicorn Store), and Janet McTeer (Marvel’s Jessica Jones). The 10-episode half-hour series will premiere on Facebook Watch on Sept. 18.
The Avengers: Infinity War alum stars as Leigh Shaw, who struggles to live without her husband, Matt (Mamoudou Athie). But don’t call her weak: Leigh is tough and fierce (and sometimes admittedly judgmental). She knows she can be resilient, but grief complicates her already complicated life.
THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER – 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.