Facebook Watch Goes to the Dogs

The season finale of Facebook Watch’s new interactive competition series, World’s Most Amazing Dog, which features Facebook users uploading “auditions” of their dogs performing, drops today, March 28 (the competition’s final results will be revealed April 4). 3 Ball Entertainment President Ronak Kordestani breaks down the format.

Cynopsis: This is the first series of its kind on Facebook, in terms of the interactivity and voting process. Can you explain how the competition works?

Ronak Kordestani: This series not only benefits from interactivity, it requires it. We’ve been able to assemble a fantastic on-camera team, with host Preacher Lawson and our judges – George Lopez and Lisa Vanderpump – but at its core, this show is about the Facebook community coming together and rallying around which pup they feel is the “world’s most amazing.”

Months ahead of premiere, Facebook users began submitting videos of their dogs (performing various tricks) to the show’s page, where the Facebook community voted on their favorites. The top dogs were tracked on a leaderboard throughout the process and popular acts made it onto the show. From there, with each episode, the judges choose one dog to advance and viewers vote for another – Facebook really makes it as easy as possible for users to get involved, with a pop up prompting them to vote as episodes end.

Starting in the semi-finals, we actually have owners bring their dogs in-studio to perform their tricks in front of Lisa, George and Preacher. The final showcase drops tonight on Facebook Watch, and our winner – who will be take home $100,000 – will be revealed next Thursday (April 4th) on our results show.

Cynopsis: How did you adapt/alter the format (known elsewhere as “Oh My Dog!”) for Facebook Watch? What tweaks were made and what elements remained?

Kordestani: For us, one of the main elements we knew was essential to the show’s DNA was the dog/owner relationship. The people who’ve entered the competition have astonishing connections with their pups – and many of them have incredible backstories – so we definitely didn’t want to lose that aspect of the format with World’s Most Amazing Dog.

That said, there are a number of changes we’ve made, as we’re not only developing the show for an interactive platform in Facebook Watch, but we’re also creating it for an international audience.

First, we adjusted the audition process in a major way by switching to video submissions (as opposed to in-person) – making it accessible to a wider range of entrants.

Another major alteration is that we chose to make the selection process far more user-driven. Whereas previous versions of the series relied solely on judges and “mentors” to choose who advances in the competition – our viewers actually had the opportunity to select which dogs would be featured on the series (along with which will advance), and they’ll also determine the final outcome when voting opens tonight!

Cynopsis: As producers, what new challenges have you encountered in developing a project of this nature?

Kordestani: There’s always a learning curve when it comes to developing for a new platform. You’re learning a new language – producing without act breaks, without a time limit – and you’re extremely conscious of the various ways the audience will be consuming the content. It’s a challenge, but a fun challenge, and the Facebook team has been an amazing partner through it all. They have a tremendous understanding of their community of users and know the types of content their audience is craving, as well as how they want to watch it.

From there, there’s also the basic challenges you’d expect to encounter when filming an international competition series – in particularly, an animal-based competition series!

Cynopsis: 3 Ball’s known for cable series like Bar Rescue and My Cat From Hell. Can we expect to see more competition series from the company in the future?

Kordestani: Absolutely – we have several competition series and game shows in development as we speak. 3 Ball has a longstanding tradition of creating hits in an array of unscripted spaces, and our development slate is currently more diverse than ever – spanning celebrity-driven docuseries, food, home renovation, dating, travel, docusoap, etc. We love being the company that can move from Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer for Paramount Network to projects like Hallmark’s Kitten Bowl and this extremely fun competition series for Facebook Watch.

We have some really exciting new projects coming down the pike that we’re looking forward to sharing with viewers.

The Cynsiders column is a platform for industry leaders to reach out to colleagues, followers, and the public at large. In their own words and in targeted Q&As, columnists address breaking news, issues of the day, and the larger changes going on in the ever-evolving world of television, video and digital. Cynsiders columns live on Cynopsis’ main page and are promoted across all daily newsletters. We welcome readers’ comments, queries, and column ideas at Lynn@Cynopsis.com.

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