CBS is ready to crush the reality competition field.
The network has handed out a straight-to-series order for a live-action game show based on popular mobile game Candy Crush, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
The new format is created and executive produced by Matt Kunitz and has elements of his popular series Wipeout and Fear Factor. Here's how the TV series will work: Teams of two will have to use their wits and physical agility to compete on enormous interactive game boards, which CBS says will feature next-generation technology, as they conquer Candy Crush and are crowned champions. A host will be announced at a later date.
The series will be produced by Lionsgate, where Kunitz is under an overall deal, and Candy Crush creator King. CBS Television Distribution will distribute the series domestically, while Lionsgate will handle international. Candy Crush will be produced by Pulse Creative, Lionsgate Television, King and CBS Television Studios. Kunitz, Lionsgate interactive ventures and games president Peter Levin, King licensing agent of Striker Entertainment Russell Binder, King vp brand Nicki Sheard and King chief creative officer/co-founder and Candy Crush Saga creator Sebastian Knutsson will executive produce.
"The Candy Crush franchise is a world-renowned property, so when the head of our interactive and games division, Peter Levin, brought this IP to Lionsgate, we instantly knew it would make an incredibly visual, physical and fun TV program," Lionsgate TV Group chairman Kevin Beggs said. "CBS is a leader in unscripted television, which makes it the ideal home for Candy Crush, and we're very happy to have Matt shepherding the production as we partner with the team at King on this series with the tremendous second-screen potential."
Launched in 2012, Candy Crush sees players matching colored candies in combinations of three or more to win points, with more than 2,000 levels. Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga are two of the top 10 grossing mobile games in the U.S. An estimated 18 billion game rounds are played monthly around the world.
"We are huge fans of Candy Crush and, like so many others, we know the 'rush' of advancing to the next level of the game," CBS Entertainment president Glenn Geller said. "We're excited to work with Lionsgate and King to adapt one of the world's most popular and entertaining game franchises for television and make it available to its massive, passionate fan base who can watch and play along at home."
A premiere date has yet to be determined; it's unclear if the series will air this season, the summer or next season. CBS' decision to pick up the series comes as Geller told THR he was interested in exploring more of the game show arena following ABC's summer success with retro game shows like Match Game and Celebrity Family Feud.
"The Candy Crush franchise lends itself perfectly to the kind of larger-than-life, physical game shows that I love to produce and CBS is the perfect home for it," Kunitz said. "As a Candy Crush Saga player myself, I am excited to amp up the action and visuals in our huge Candy Crush Arena."
Following the breakout success of Candy Crush, Activision Blizzard acquired King Digital for $6 billion.
For Lionsgate, the series comes as the independent production company has been ramping up its unscripted side, signing a slew of producers to overall deals.
Kunitz, meanwhile, next has Fox game show Kicking and Screaming, which is also produced by Lionsgate, due in 2017.