By Stephanie Holland
As massive layoffs continue to hit the media, entertainment and tech industries, Meta—the company behind Facebook—is making a major budget decision about its original content. According to Variety, Meta is closing up shop on Facebook Watch original programming, which means Red Table Talk is canceled. Hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, her daughter, Willow Smith, and her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, the talk show is one of Facebook Watch’s most popular series.
The show featured the three women, celebrity guests, family members and close friends engaged in round table discussions about issues like forgiveness and surviving trauma, as well as, extremely intimate conversations about the Smiths’ relationship. Jada and Will’s production company, Westbrook Studios, is behind the series and is searching for new distributors.
It’s hard for me to believe that an Emmy-winning show with name recognition and star power isn’t going to be picked up by a new network. Personally, I see a streaming service like Prime Video or Hulu as the best fit for the series. The Roku Channel also seems to be open to taking chances on projects from other networks, so that could be another potential landing spot for it.
Since Jada and WIll are such a controversial couple, Red Table Talk was routinely criticized for being too personal or just a little too much. However, when you look at the talk show landscape when it premiered in 2018, it was unique to the genre. Three Black women from different generations of the same family talking openly about their lives and the issues most important to them was not something we regularly saw. It became known for the open, non-judgmental space it provided for women. It also rejected the usual talk show tropes like pre-planned comedic anecdotes. Some of the conversations were emotionally raw and very real. No matter how you feel about Jada, a show like this opens eyes and helps viewers. I’m sure the internet will get its jokes off, because that’s what the internet does, but we should recognize that Red Table Talk brought something special to TV.