Online game to be next TV hit?

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London - An addictive app-based cellphone game is to become the next television hit after UK broadcaster Channel 4 announced it would turn Draw Something into an entertainment show.

Contestants brandishing tablet devices will test their sketching skills when the Pictionary-style game, which has passed 100 million downloads, transfers to the slightly larger screen.

Broadcasters are scouring mobile games as a source for television hits.

An Angry Birds animated series was launched last month – with a film also in the works.

The popular agricultural simulation game Farmville is now being turned into a series by Brett Ratner, director of X-Men: The Last Stand.

Gaming giant Zynga bought Draw Something for $180-million (R1.63 billion)from its creators, Omgpop, after the game became a viral Facebook hit. The game has produced 11 billion drawings.

The broadcast rights to Draw Something are co-owned by Sony Pictures Television and Ryan Seacrest Productions, the company founded by the American Idol host.

CBS won a bidding war to screen a version in the US.

The game consists of one player drawing a picture of a word on their device and sending it to an opponent. The other player must guess what has been drawn using letters at the bottom of the screen.

The Channel 4 show will team contestants, recruited through the app, available on iPhone and Android devices, and partner them with celebrities.

The teams will compete for gold coins and the celebrities must correctly guess five sketches to win money for the contestants.

Draw Something is intended for a 5pm slot to lure viewers from BBC1 quiz Pointless. But it could become a breakout hit, as happened with Deal Or No Deal.

However, the CBS network, which ordered a pilot of Draw Something for a US audience last year, has not commissioned a full series. – The Independent

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