Does anyone remember last year’s wildly popular gaming app Draw Something? After initial plans to adapt the mobile game into a show for the CBS network in the U.S. fell through, it’s getting a second chance at the small screen across the pond. Channel 4, one of five broadcast networks in the United Kingdom, has announced plans to develop the game into a Friday night gameshow called Draw It!
The show will be developed by Channel 4 and Victory Television, a Sony subsidiary best known for the British version of Who Wants to Be A Millionaire?, based on a format created by OMGPOP (the original developers before Zynga bought it). This is in lieu of the aborted American incarnation of the game show, in partnership with production companies Embassy Row and Ryan Seacrest Productions.
If you’re wondering how an app can be translated into a television show, Channel Four’s announcement helpfully described the format of each episode: “Two teams, made up of one contestant and one celebrity, go head to head as they battle out three rounds of drawing challenges,” the announcement explained. “Against the clock, teams will need to be quick and tactful as they play for the all-important gold coins – the contestant with the least amount of coins after three rounds will be eliminated.”
There’s more. In order for the remaining contestant to win a cash prize, he or she “will join forces with both celebrities for the final round, which will test their sketching skills against a 90 second clock. If the celebrities identify five drawings correctly, we have a winner but if they fail, the cash is locked and rolls over to the next show.”
In other words: This could be a very frustrating show for contestants if their celebrities aren’t good at guessing games. According to Victoria Ashbourne, the managing director of Victory Television, the show’s format plays into basic human needs and impulses. “There’s a creative side to everyone, sometimes more obvious than others,” she said, “and the show will really tap into that with a race against the clock and plenty of humor.”
Interestingly enough, contestants for the game will reportedly be recruited via the Draw Something app, which provides both a promotional link for Zynga’s original product, but also a novel way for the show to look outside of the traditional talent list when it comes to choosing who competes in the show. It’s a clever way of ensuring they’ll have some level of drawing skill before appearing on national television.
The Draw It! announcement is just the latest brand extension of Draw Something for Zynga; last year, the company teamed with Hasbro to produce a physical edition of the game as part of the latter company’s “Hasbro Gaming” line of boardgame reincarnations of popular mobile games.