Add Meta to the list of digital media giants that are pivoting away from original programming. As the company formerly known as Facebook endures another round of layoffs, it is ending its current slate of Facebook Watch originals.
Facebook Watch became a thriving hub for both scripted and unscripted shows after the 2017 hire of MTV vet Mina Lefevre, who became Meta’s Head of Development and Programming. According to Deadline, Meta has let Lefevre go as part of a three-part round of layoffs that will ultimately affect more than 10,000 employees. Those cuts come on the heels of Meta’s November 2022 downsizing, when it let go of 11,000 workers.
During her six-year tenure at Meta, Lefevre helped assemble a varied programming library. The Facebook Watch lineup included some shows that came over from MTV, a number of creator-centric vehicles, and brand-new originals like Red Table Talk, which even earned Facebook a Daytime Emmy nomination. Per Deadline, the producers of Red Table Talk will shop the Jada Pinkett Smith-led show after its departure from its previous home.
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Meta spent freely to assemble its originals library, reportedly floating multi-million-dollar deals in search of high-end shows. That effort produced some promising returns — Facebook Watch reached 1.25 billion monthly users in 2020 — but Meta’s programming priorities have since shifted. Going forward, it will focus its original content efforts in the world of VR, where it has big plans for its Oculus devices.
As that shift occurs, Facebook Watch originals will air their final episodes. After Lefevre’s departure, some members of Meta’s programming division will stay on with the company. Deadline cited Thomas Stockwell as one exec who will help Meta pursue VR-friendly content.