Columbia TriStar TV said Thursday it will begin letting fans of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy!” play along with show contestants beginning Oct. 4. The shows will bow interactive versions for Microsoft’s WebTV Plus subscribers.
Sony also said cabler Game Show Network plans to roll out interactive editions of its strips in the winter.
Through the service, WebTV Plus’ more than 800,000 subscribers will be able to solve puzzles and answer questions on their keyboards while watching “Wheel” and “Jeopardy!” High scorers will win prizes.
Los Angeles-based Mixed Signals Technologies provided the software for the interactive editions; Col TriStar Interactive is producing.
“Game shows are the killer app of interactive television,” said Andy Kaplan, executive veep of CTTG. “They are participatory, completely intuitive and provide viewers with instant gratification from their viewing experience.”
Sony has already been trying to capitalize on gameshow fans who want to play along and press the buttons with TheStation@sony.com, a Web site that features a series of gameshows online, including online editions of “Jeopardy!” “Wheel of Fortune” and “The Dating Game.”
Sony and WebTV plan to push the interactive versions of the shows with an extensive marketing campaign. WebTV subscribers will be able to pre-register to play the games now through the fall program debut.
Sony said it plans to expand the offering to other set-top box services.