“Jack” is back– and ABC’s got him.
Alphabet web has finalized a deal to bring the popular computer trivia game “You Don’t Know Jack” to the small screen, making a minimum 13-episode guarantee for the Carsey-Werner produced quizzer.
Pact is the latest twist in a nearly four-year development journey for the show, which was first envisioned as a syndie strip by Time Warner-owned Telepictures back in 1996.
The “Jack” deal reps ABC’s most significant commitment yet to a quizzer since “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” emerged as a monster hit last summer.
Net has also greenlit production of several pilot versions of a game called “Mastermind” from “Millionaire” exec producer Michael Davies.
In addition to the primetime order, ABC and Carsey-Werner are also exploring the possibility of bringing “Jack” to the syndie market in conjunction with its network run.
Indeed, the web and the studio have been in serious negotiations about “Jack” for more than six months, with insiders indicating that the syndie provisions of the pact proved to be the most difficult to negotiate.
Getting “Jack” off the ground has been a tedious task for numerous programming execs.
The irreverent CD-ROM game was initially developed in 1995 by Jellyvision in partnership with Berkeley Systems. Telepictures quickly hit some snags when trying to develop the game as a firstrun series in 1996.
At the time, Jellyvision execs were reportedly unhappy with the show after some initial run-throughs and audience tests of the strip. Telepictures considered retooling the show, but eventually released the production staff and dropped the project.
Carsey-Werner revived the project last fall with Paul Reubens as host. Reubens later dropped out to pursue other projects.
C-W considered bringing the show to NATPE but ultimately pitched the gamer as a network skein after “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” launched the gameshow craze in primetime.