The English-language remake of Skam, Norway’s viral-hit web series that concluded earlier this year, has finally found a home in the new Facebook streaming service, creatively named Facebook Watch. Facebook Watch shows first started airing just under two months ago—early titles included a video version of Humans of New York as well as videos courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo—and has since also ordered a teen drama entitled Five Points, to be executive-produced by Scandal’s Kerry Washington.
Skam follows the escapades of a group of high schoolers played by a group of emerging Norwegian actors including Josefine Frida Pettersen, who has become something of a style icon in her home country. (Five Points, meanwhile, is about a group of high schoolers living in Chicago’s South Side; there is a teen drama formula, and it works.) Its American adaptation has yet to be cast, but it’s being produced by Simon Fuller—the other Simon behind such instant classics as American Idol—who obtained the rights this year. The news was revealed at Mipcom, the Cannes-based media trade festival.
“From the first moment I heard about it I thought about Facebook as my partner,” Fuller said, according to Variety. Facebook’s own global content chief Ricky Van Veen described the series as “the future of storytelling.”
Skam, which unfortunately translates to Shame in English rather than to its homonym, Scam, is the latest in the illustrious cottage industry of American networks remaking other countries’ successful formulae. Think, for example, of Skins, which had a short-lived run on MTV after seven seasons on the British channel E4, or of The Office, a markedly more successful adaptation that ran for nine seasons on NBC. Misfits, the unabashedly weird teen superhero drama that ran on E4 for five seasons, is also rumored to be getting an American makeover.
Skam is, in some ways, the perfect series for Facebook in particular to reinvent, since it owes its success in large part to its social media strategy. (Even if the idea of Facebook video is still somewhat cringe-inducing, at least Facebook Watch involves free and active consent, unlike the videos that populate your home feed.) It inverts the streaming-service formula, as a recent Atlantic story pointed out: Where recent shows like Ozark, Mindhunter, G.L.O.W., and Stranger Things have made the most of your binge-watching indiscretions, Skam, which, during its original run, released small amounts of new content every day on its website before repackaging those short clips in a more traditional episode format to be aired weekly, essentially precluding binge-watching. (“The brief clips made the series easily shareable on social media and watchable on smartphones, paving the way for Skam’s success both at home and abroad,” wrote the Atlantic earlier this year after rumors of an English-language remake began to circulate.)
But the question remains, if Josefine Frida Pettersen, Skam’s breakout star, is Norway’s answer to Gossip Girl Blake Lively, who is Facebook Watch’s Josefine Frida Pettersen?
Paris Hilton breaks down her favorite '00s trends and why they're still hot: