51 Minds, TouchFrame team for iPad gameshow

The next big unscripted format coming out of Endemol may be getting its start in Apple’s App Store instead of on a TV network.

Endemol-owned prodco 51 Minds Entertainment is teaming with tech start-up TouchFrame have for a new game show that launched Thursday as a free app on iPads only. “Braindex” enables an interactive battle of wits with celebrity guests including Mike Tyson, scoring how quickly they, and the users who play along via the tablet’s touchscreen, can answer multiple-choice trivia questions.

While gaming is a popular attraction in the app world, entertainment content is not, which makes the mixing of the two genres in this environment an interesting experiment. Making TV game shows an interactive experience involving viewers is not a new concept, with many channels both in the U.S. and overseas having attempted to launch formats that allows for playing at home via smartphones. Microsoft even turned an Endemol game show “1 vs. 100″ into an interactive series that had a brief run on XBox Live beginning in 2009.

But “Braindex” reverses the notion currently in vogue that handheld devices are an adjunct to the TV experience, making the tablet a standalone screen.

“We came at this with a healthy skepticism toward the second-screen environment,” said Jon Zimelis, former UTA agent and co-founder of TouchFrame with Sam Rogoway of VC firm Brave New Ventures. “Tablets can be an additional tool to TV watching but in reality they can be used as the first screen.”

“Braindex” was unveiled Wednesday at a “demo day” hosted by Los Angeles-based start-up accelerator MuckerLab, where TouchFrame has been incubating for the past four months. The hope is to attract interest from producers and investors that could make “Braindex” just the first property on a network of multiple interactive app shows to roll out later this year.

Featured at launch in the App Store, “Braindex” will launch with nine episodes and three more episodes will roll out each week for the next seven weeks. While the opening batch of episodes will be free, some subsequent episodes will require users paying a 99-cent fee to access.

While “Braindex” is launching for use on iPad, future iterations could show up on iPhone, Facebook or Android-powered devices. The property isn’t ad-supported at launch but will be available for sponsorships.

Other celebrities who participate as contestants in subsequent episodes of “Braindex” include Jason Mewes, Alison Haislip and Andy Milonakis. Their segments are pre-taped on a modest set that happens to be located in the back of a truck.

Other TV series produced by 51 Minds includes “La La’s Full Court Life” and “Bridalplasty.”

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