9:00am PT by Mikey O'Connell
'Words With Friends' Being Developed for TV
Pretty soon, you could be playing Words With Friends with complete strangers.
MGM Television and mobile device gaming kingpins Zynga have partnered to translate the popular spelling challenge to TV. Though there's no network attached just yet, the development follows similar launches in CBS' Candy Crush and Fox's app-friendly Beat Shazam (also from MGM TV).
"The interactive social experience of Words With Friends makes it the perfect mobile game for us to bring to primetime, following our success with Beat Shazam on Fox," said Barry Poznick, MGM's president of unscripted television. "Playing Words is a daily ritual for some of the biggest names in Hollywood, and we've created the perfect format to capture their competitiveness and creative wordplay."
Words With Friends, which has somehow evaded legal obstacles with Scrabble, is hugely popular. It ranks as one of the iTunes app store's all-time top 10 free game downloads with more the 200 million installations to date and an estimated 55 million matches being played globally at any given moment.
"Over the past eight years, Words With Friends has proven to be a place where millions of people connect with their friends and family from around the world every day," said Zynga publishing president Bernard Kim. "We're proud to partner with MGM, an industry leader in creating innovative and engaging programming, to extend the iconic gameplay and rich social experience of Words With Friends, and our broader collection of With Friends games, to new mainstream entertainment mediums."
MGM TV said in a Wednesday release that the show, should it go to series, would incorporate aspects of the Zynga suite of Words games but nothing else.
Beat Shazam was just renewed for a second season.