The Ryan Seacrest media empire convinced CBS to order a pilot for a gameshow based on Draw Something, which we think is the first iPhone game to be turned into a television gameshow.
The Hollywood Reporter confirms CBS won a "multiple-network bidding war" for the show that will feature, "celebrities and everyday users playing in front of a live audience to earn cash prizes." Of course, the show will also feature ways for viewers to participate at home from their iPhones. Sony Pictures Television, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Embassy Row are all on board to produce. No, Seacrest won't be hosting. Yes, we're getting a gameshow based on an app that's essentially based off a board game that already had its own gameshow in the 1990s. Does anyone else hear four horses galloping in the distance?
Why any network would engage in a bidding war for a gameshow based on Draw Something is confusing. The app was wildly popular when it debuted in February, and was the whole reason Zynga bought OMGPOP for $200 million in March. But since then, the game's popularity has plummeted. (Not to mention Zynga's stock price.) How does CBS expect viewers to tune in and care about a Draw Something show by the time it can staff up and build a set and do all the things needed to deliver a polished product ready for primetime, or even daytime? The app couldn't even survive a six month hype cycle. It was barely four months old when it hit a new low with integrated advertising from the NHL.
What's even scarier is former Wire writer Adam Clark Estes predicted this in March when Zynga picked up OMGPOP. At the time, he joked someone should use the iPhone's gyroscope to develop a Charades app, or they should "turn an iPhone game into a teevee gameshow."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.