It’s great to hear that Joanna Shields will continue to head up Bebo now that it’s being acquired by AOL (even if Om thinks AOL’s rationale for the deal is “gobbledygook“). Shields was responsible for bringing KateModern, the hit show from the creators of Lonelygirl15, to the social network. She told us last year she had become familiar with the team’s skill at melding reality and fiction while working at Google and seeing their early success on YouTube.
Setting immersive fictional web shows within social networks was one of the most engaging and promising online video developments of the last year, and Bebo has been at the forefront of this (MySpace-Prom Queen was the probably the first good example). It’s one place where social-networking thought leader Facebook is way behind. With Time Warner’s expertise and power, Bebo has a chance to take the social-network-as-the-new-TV-network phenomenon to new heights.
Bebo’s next interactive drama series, Sophia’s Diary, is set to be launched next week. The site is also developing a reality travel show called Gap Year with Endemol.