'CSI' creator aims for 'scale of a movie'
“CSI” creator Anthony Zuiker is producing a scripted drama set in the world of cybercrime for Yahoo.Portal is getting first-window rights to “Cybergeddon,” which will premiere in the fall and subsequently move onto other digital platforms for purchase. Yahoo will release “Cybergeddon” in episodic form and be sold later on digital platforms or DVD in 90-minute form. It will be supplemented by additional content experiences including an app-based game for iOs devices. “It’s going to have the scale of a movie but the intimacy of a great story,” said Zuiker, who has followed up on his mega-franchise at CBS with an increasing number of productions that cross media platforms. “Cybergeddon” was packaged by CAA, which brought together Zuiker’s shingle, Dare to Pass, and Yahoo with Dolphin Digital Media, which will finance the production. Dolphin is best known for digital content at kids brands including Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network but also produced “H+,” a Web series from director Bryan Singer. Real-life cybercrime specialist Norton by Symantec is onboard as a sponsor and will serve as a creative adviser for the story. In pre-production, “Cybergeddon” follows the faceoff between a disgraced cybercrime specialist and a notorious hacker. The production is casting key roles and a director is expected to be chosen soon. Miles Chapman (“The Tomb”) penned the script. “Cybergeddon” marks the latest effort in a huge content push from Yahoo, which has released slates of programming in recent months featuring talent ranging from Bill Maher to Ali Wentworth. Its most anticipated project is still to come from Tom Hanks, who is exec producing and voicing the protagonist in the animated series “Electric City.” “When Anthony saw the kind of immersive content we could surround a project like ‘Electric City’ with, I think he saw the possibilities for what he could do at Yahoo,” said Erin McPherson, VP and head of video at Yahoo. Increasing the original programming has paid off for Yahoo, driving more than half of the 61 million unique viewers it generated in February, according to Comscore, toppling musicvideo juggernaut Vevo for the first time ever. “Cybergeddon” continues Zuiker’s deep dive into for digital-minded production. In addition to bringing interactive add-ons to select episodes of “CSI,” he also wrote a novel with digital elements, “Level 26,” and is producing a channel of original programming for YouTube called Blackbox TV.