Draw Something: Hit app heads for TV screens

50 million people downloaded it – and now it is going to get its own show

They can easily be dismissed as time-wasting fads for bored commuters, but as the latest hit mobile phone game is set to become a television show, there are signs that apps are coming of age.

US channel CBS has purchased a pilot show inspired by the game Draw Something, which will feature celebrities and players at home competing for prizes. Draw Something is much like the board game Pictionary, with players on mobile phones and tablets taking it in turn to draw and guess the word in the picture.

This is not the first game to make the transition from phone to small screen. The hit app Angry Birds, which has been downloaded one billion times, has already made stars out of its catapulted animated birds. It is being made into a television cartoon for release later this year; a feature film is due in 2015 and there is already an Angry Birds amusement park in Finland.

Earlier this year, Draw Something became the fastest-growing app ever after it was downloaded by more than 50 million people in the 50 days after its launch. The game's popularity allowed its creators to sell their fledgling company OMGPOP for £113m to gaming firm Zynga in March.

The television series is said to have prompted a bidding row between rival channels. It will be a joint production between Sony Pictures Television, Ryan Seacrest Productions and Embassy Row.

Matt Hill, the deputy editor of technology magazine T3, believes the deal is a sign of things to come. "This shows how important apps are now – and they're only going to get bigger," he said. "Angry Birds was always the example used for making a successful transition. I think there will be more television and films coming from apps as they become more and more high profile."

Mr Hill expects other games to be cashing in soon. "I think there's a lot of potential for crossover. With a game like Whale Trail, for example, you can imagine that being made as a kids' cartoon because it has created a world and characters."

Dr Helen Wheatley, a television historian at Warwick University, said TV executives were looking to new technology for ideas. She said: "Television has to compete with other screens now; people are sitting at home with laptops, tablets and phones. This is a further example of the convergence of media cultures. Shows in the UK like Rude Tube have simply brought the YouTube comic clip on to television in a way that's trying to be like an internet sensation."

But Jon Crowcroft, a computer scientist at Cambridge University, warned: "The sort of thing that works in a game doesn't necessarily work on television. The audience for a game like Draw Something is commuters who are bored or young kids, so it's not going to hold anyone's attention for long."

Coming to a screen near you: The apps tipped for triumph

Instagram Popular with the hipster crowd: allows you to take photos and share them in a variety of tints which give a retro look. Thirty million users.

Fruit Ninja A favourite game of David Cameron – slice the fruit and win points – simple. Twenty million copies sold worldwide.

WhatsApp Free messaging service that allows users to send text and pictures faster and more reliably than most mobile phone networks.

Cut the Rope A puzzle game, based on laws of physics. A comic book series based on the app was launched last year.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: Client IT Account Manager

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Client IT Account Manager is ...

    Recruitment Genius: Windows Server Engineer - Compute Engineer

    £30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Compute Engineer role also ...

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £13676.46 - £15864.28 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Re...

    Recruitment Genius: 3rd Line IT Support / Senior Engineer / Support Analyst

    £24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

    Day In a Page

    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
    Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

    Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
    Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

    The only direction Zayn could go

    We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
    Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

    Spells like teen spirit

    A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
    Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

    British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
    Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

    Licence to offend in the land of the free

    Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
    From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

    From farm to fork in Cornwall

    One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
    Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

    Robert Parker interview

    The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

    We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor