Perhaps Zynga will have the last laugh on its multimillion-dollar OMGPOP/Draw Something purchase, after all.
Hollywood trade paper Variety has reported that CBS has outbid "multiple networks" to nab a pilot episode of a primetime TV show based on the Pictionary-like game Draw Something.
The OMGPOP-developed app shot out of the gates in February — exceeding 50 million downloads and boasting more than 14 million daily users by April — only to see its daily average user base drop by nearly half in late May. The plunge had some investors wondering whether Zynga had paid too much for OMGPOP.
Variety, which seemed to be relying on inside sources (the paper said that neither CBS nor the show's apparent producers — Sony Pictures Television and Ryan Seacrest Productions — would comment), describes the show like so: "Teams of celebrities and everyday users will test their skills in front of a studio audience to earn money and big laughs. Viewers can also play along at home for a chance to win prizes and compete with the celebrities." Variety said that CBS hasn't committed to actually airing the show, but that the network will likely fast track the project.
In May, Zynga defended its OMGPOP purchase, with Zynga COO John Schappert saying of Draw Something, "We think of it as a game that's an evergreen franchise. It's a game that will live on for years." If the show actually makes it to TV and proves popular, Schappert's words may well be borne out.
Variety pointed out that Pictionary itself spawned a TV show, but the paper said that this new show will somehow incorporate a high-tech element.
The Draw Something game involves competing players drawing a picture to convey a word for a fellow player to guess. Similar games have been adapted into TV series in the past, including syndicated fare during the 1980s and '90s, like Pictionary and Win, Lose or Draw.
But Draw Something will have the 21st-century spin of incorporating second-screen devices like phones and tablets that are increasingly common in the laps of viewers. No specifics are available on how that will be executed.
Variety said that if the pilot works out, and a series is ordered by CBS, then the show will likely begin airing early next year.
Disclosure: CBS is the parent company of CNET.