An addictive app-based mobile phone game is set to become the next television hit after Channel 4 announced that it is to 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 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 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 United States.
The game consists of one player drawing a picture of a word on their device and sending it to their opponent. The other player must correctly guess what has been drawn using letters at the bottom of their 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 expected to run in a 5pm tea-time slot where Channel 4 hopes it will lure viewers away from the BBC1 quiz, Pointless. But it could become a breakout hit like the Channel’s previous daytime game show, Deal Or No Deal.
However the CBS network, which ordered a pilot of Draw Something for a US audience last year, has not chosen to commission a full series.