RDF to debut interactive cartoon series

'Sleuths' allows viewers' avatars to appear onscreen

RDF is looking to launch the U.S.' first interactive animated series.

The reality production company behind such shows as Fox's "Don't Forget the Lyrics" and ABC's "Wife Swap" is teaming with new-media company Artificial Life to design a TV series in which viewers can participate in the onscreen action.

In the proposed series, "Sleuths," viewers customize their own avatar that will appear onscreen during the show's live telecast. A quiz question will be asked three times per half-hour episode, and viewers will text their answers. Those who answer correctly continue to the next round; a wrong answer means elimination from the screen.

At the end of each episode, the top five avatars will appear onscreen standing with the show's characters.

"It's both a television show and an interactive experience," said Max Benator, senior vp multiplatform entertainment at RDF USA. "It's revolutionary, and we couldn't be more excited to introduce this to the States."

The technology -- dubbed MoPA-TV, for mobile-participation television -- has been used successfully in Japan and Europe. Viewers can go online or use SMS to register, select avatars and send answers. In the TV studio, an operator can "generate a camera path" through the 3D landscape of the participating viewers' avatars.