Facebook Watch and Snapchat are home to many short-form shows, just as upcoming streaming service Quibi will be

By Eric Todisco
December 12, 2019 02:41 PM
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As Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Amazon, Apple and more wage the streaming wars, there’s another battle brewing among newer platforms promising short-form programming.

Facebook Watch and Snapchat, both of which are completely free, currently boast numerous short-form shows with stars like Jessica Biel and Elizabeth Olsen. Facebook Watch shows typically include a running time of about 15-20 minutes per episode, while Snapchat Original episodes average five minutes in length.

And come April 2020, up-and-coming streaming network Quibi, short for “quick bites,” will hit phones — and it has has secured support from Hollywood heavyweights from Chrissy Teigen and Andy Cohen to Jennifer Lopez and Zac Efron.

Quibi founder and chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg (who co-founded DreamWorks Animation) and CEO Meg Whitman (who previously served as CEO and president of Hewlett Packard) are leading this new platform, which has already garnered $1 billion in investments.

Once released on April 6, users can pay $4.99 to access the platform with advertising or $7.99 without it. It’s set to feature 7,000 pieces of content at launch, according to Vanity Fair. It will also feature both vertical and horizontal video, Thrillist reported.

Andy Cohen, Jennifer Lopez and Zach Efron
| Credit: Astrid Stawiarz/Getty; Roy Rochlin/WireImage; Samir Hussein/WireImage

Quibi’s announced content includes Cohen, 51, in The Andy Cohen Diaries, an animated series chronicling iconic and untold moments from his life. Efron, 32, will go off the grid in Killing Zac Efron, which follows the heartthrob and his brother in the jungle of a remote island as they attempt to survive without food, water and technology for several days.

In Thanks a Million, stars like Lopez, Kristen Bell and Tracy Morgan will choose an influential person from their early lives and give them $100,000 each, as long as that person passes down $50,000 to a similar person and that person hands off $25,000, and so on, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

PEOPLE’s former Sexiest Man Alive Idris Elba will star in stunt-driving series Elba vs. Block with professional rally driver Ken Block. Teigen, meanwhile, will preside over real-life small claims cases in Chrissy’s Court, which also features her mom as the bailiff.

And Keeping up with the Kardashiansfans can’t wait for Kirby Jenner, a spoof show following a comedian who pretends to be Kendall Jenner‘s less-famous twin brother.

Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

While Quibi’s star-studded programming does not arrive until April 2020, Facebook Watch and Snapchat have plenty of bingeable content available now. Here are the shows worth watching.

Facebook Watch

Facebook Watch’s most buzzed-about series at the moment is Red Table Talk. The talk show features Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter Willow Smith, and her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris as they sit down with fellow celebrities for a wide ranging list of topics. In one interview, Jordyn Woods finally set the record straight on the cheating scandal with Khloé Kardashian‘s ex Tristan Thompson.

In the scripted drama series Sorry For Your Loss, Olsen, 30, stars as a young widow struggling to cope with the unexpected death of her husband. The show has aired two 10-episode seasons and also features Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalkers‘ Kelly Marie Tran.

Red Table Talk
| Credit: Facebook Watch
Elizabeth Olsen in Sorry For Your Loss
| Credit: Facebook Watch

Season 1 of Limetown, which is based on the scripted podcast of the same name, stars Biel, 37, as Lia Haddock, a journalist for American Public Radio as she unravels the mystery behind the disappearance of over 300 people at a neuroscience research community in Tennessee.

In the 14-episode horror series The Birch, Midori Francis, Xaria Dotson, and Dempsey Bryk play three teenagers whose lives intersect with a blood-thirsty monster lurking in the woods, the Birch. Sworn to protect the vulnerable wherever she is summoned, the Birch demands a dangerous toll for her services.

Xaria Dotson in The Birch
| Credit: Facebook Watch

Additional programming on Facebook Watch include MTV’s The Real World: Atlanta, The Real Bros of Simi Valley, pregnancy documentary series 9 Months with Courteney Cox, Returning the Favor, hosted by Mike Rowe, and drama series Sacred Lies, which will return a second season next year.

Also coming in 2020 to Facebook Watch is Steve Harvey’s new daytime talk show, STEVE on Watch. Plus, a documentary series about Christiano Ronaldo is in development.

Snapchat

Snapchat Original The Dead Girls Detective Agency dives into investigating the murder of Jamie, an influencer chef. The series, which has aired four seasons, is based on the YA novel of the same name by Suzy Cox. According to Snapchat, the franchise has reached over 20 million unique viewers, and 80% of viewers who completed season 2 went on to watch season 3.

In documentary series Endless Summer, influencers Summer McKeen and Dylan Jordan try to balance love, friends, family, and fame in this intimate snapshot of their lives in Laguna Beach, California. The show reached over 28 million unique viewers in its first season, and more than 90 percent of Snapchatters who completed the first season then watched season 2 in its first month.

On Dec. 21, Snapchat will premiere the documentary series Tekashi 69 vs.The World, which traces the rise and fall of controversial rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine, from his earliest days growing up in Brooklyn, trough his chart-topping career and star-studded collaborations, to his trouble with the FBI and eventual incarceration.

Come 2020, Snapchat will debut even more documentary series, including While Black with MK Asante, Honeybeez, Players and Nikita Unfiltered.

Quibi is available on Apr. 6, while Facebook Watch and Snapchat are available to stream now.