Vidgame creators spotlighted in net pic

Showtime has pacted with “CSI” exec producer Naren Shankar to develop an original movie about the creators of the videogame phenomenon “Doom.”

Shankar is adapting the story from David Kushner’s book “Masters of Doom” and will exec produce the project for the pay cabler.

First released in 1993, “Doom” is widely recognized as the premiere vidgame in the first-person action genre. Franchise has been one of the industry’s bestselling PC series since its debut.

In “Doom,” a player navigates a dungeon and obliterates everything that crosses his path. Game was a technological and sociological watershed. Creators John Carmack and John Romero, who founded id Software, made breakthroughs in graphics (high-end 3-D interface for an ordinary PC) and shareware (companies developed networks specifically for “Doom” tournaments).

An engineer-turned-TV scribe, Shankar first got wind of the story after reading a review of Kushner’s book in an engineering journal.

“It’s such a classic American rags-to-riches story. I really suck at the game, but the story of these two twentysomething guys is pretty incredible,” Shankar said. “In the spate of a few years, their idea and technology launched an entire industry based around these first-person shooter games.”

But the feats didn’t come without controversy. High gore and violence quotient of “Doom” raised questions of decency in products meant for kids. It also became inextricably linked to the shootings at Columbine High School when the shooters proclaimed that playing “Doom” was their favorite activity.

Under the leadership of entertainment prexy Bob Greenblatt, Showtime has been focusing on developing high-concept biopics (Barry Bonds, Michael Eisner vs. Mike Ovitz) and product stories (Viagra).

Shankar inked a multiyear deal to exec produce “CSI” last year (Daily Variety, July 2). Pact with CBS, Alliance Atlantis and Jerry Bruckheimer Television will keep the scribe with the show through 2007. He and exec producers Carol Mendelsohn and Anthony Zuiker recently penned the season finale of “CSI,” which Quentin Tarantino has signed on to direct.

Repped by the Rothman Brecher Agency, Shankar spent three seasons on the revival of “The Outer Limits” and was an exec producer on the Sci Fi Channel’s “Farscape.”

(Josef Adalian contributed to this report.)

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