Electus, Engine team for 'Thumb Wars'

Interactive treasure hunt game show using smartphones

Ben Silverman's newly formed company Electus is partnering with a newly formed U.S. producer-distributor, Engine Entertainment, on an interactive treasure hunt game show called "Thumb Wars."

The partners will package the hybrid reality competition format in the U.S. marketplace to involve network, advertising and digital integration.

"Thumb Wars," which is originally a South African show, relies heavily on a smart phone to completely drive the game, which offers an untapped digital platform for advertisers and electronic applications.

"Electus is scouring the world for next-generation entertainment and 'Thumb Wars' is a groundbreaking program utilizing everyone's most important means of communication and connection -- their PDA's," said Electus CEO Silverman, who is the former head of NBC's network television operations.

Engine CEO Chris Philip and company consultant Michel Rodrigue as well as Silverman will serve as executive producers of the American version.

The game involves contestants who use Smart Phone apps to receive clues for their quest in finding a hidden treasure. In each standalone episode, four new teams of cross-generational contestants set off on a day-long adventure, following a series of hi-tech clues that explore the history of their country.

Created and produced by Stimulii Prods. and broadcast on SABC in South Africa, the reality/game show has averaged a 31% overall market share in that territory. Engine will handle worldwide distribution for the format beginning at MIPTV.