Quibi Snapchat Series No Longer Happening

Quibi Snapchat Series

Quibi has already lost one of its planned shows. The streaming service devoted to short-form content was set to create a Social Network-style series inspired by the creation of Snapchat. Quibi founder Jeffrey Katzenberg announced the show at last year’s SXSW. No official reason has been given for the decision to pull the plug, but it might have something to do with Quibi not having the smoothest of launches.

Variety has the scoop about the Quibi Snapchat series getting the ax. The show was to be an adaptation of the script Frat Boy Genius by Elissa Karasik, which was on the 2018 Black List. Here’s the logline:

A disgruntled employee of Snapchat tells the rise of her former Stanford classmate, preeminent douchebag and current boss Evan Spiegel.

That sounds very much like The Social Network, and a review of the script goes into more detail, which also sounds very Social Network-y:

Evan Spiegel, as our title implies, is a frat boy. He is not, however, a genius. At least according to our story’s narrator, Lily, who uses the majority of her voice-overing to paint Evan as an entitled douchebag idiot. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One day in college Evan hears a student discussing accidentally sending an embarrassing photo to his mom, which gives him the idea for Snapchat (then titled Picaboo). Snapchat deletes photos several seconds after they’re sent.

Evan teams up with his two best pals, Bobby (who handles coding), and Reggie (who handles day to day operations) and moves to California where they desperately try and get their app off the ground, all while Lily offers her unfiltered thoughts on how dumb Evan is. Eventually, Evan realizes he should be targeting high school kids, and that’s when his app blows up. One of those kids ends up being the daughter of Michael Lynton, then CEO of Sony Entertainment. Michael gives Evan the money to take Snapchat into the stratosphere, and that’s exactly where it goes. The app is worth 13 billion dollars within a couple of years.

And indeed, when Jeffrey Katzenberg first announced the project last year, he, too, talked about The Social Network, saying: “We want to tell a story that’s as compelling and interesting about Snapchat and Evan as The Social Network was for Facebook.”

So what, exactly, happened? Why isn’t Quibi moving forward with this? Variety doesn’t have an answer, but perhaps it has something to do with the underwhelming launch of the streaming service. Quibi made its big debut last week, and resulted in 1.7 million downloads, which isn’t terrible, all things considered. But it’s not exactly a huge hit, either. Part of the problem has to do with timing – Quibi was designed to be an on-the-go service, but no one is on-the-go right now. Overall, though, people just didn’t seem too excited about Quibi. Perhaps that’ll change soon, as the service is fast-tracking plans to make Quibi available on TVs (it’s mobile-only at the moment).

As for Frat Boy Genius, maybe it’ll end up somewhere else. People definitely seem to like the script, so it’s bound to attract some attention elsewhere.

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