A Web-spun TV skein

Electronic Arts, WMA taking game to tube

Vidgame giant Electronic Arts and the William Morris Agency have pacted to create the first TV series translation of an online game.

WMA will rep EA’s upcoming online suspense-thriller game “Majestic” for television, a project that will potentially involve TV viewers via phone, fax and email.

The “Majestic” game, set to bow this summer, is an episodic, personalized entertainment experience that will roll out monthly as part of the EA Platinum Service on EA.com.

It asks players signing on to enter pertinent personal info about themselves, which is then used to place the players at the center of their own unique mystery.

Once a player subscribes to the game, he or she will receive random and mysterious phone calls, faxes, e-mails or an instant message on AOL with info about the game — and the player’s role in it.

Under the agreement, WMA will work with EA to package the project with TV production partners, develop a marketing strategy for selling the project and service the project with writers, directors and on-air talent.

Players behind the scenes

WMA’s Mark Itkin, who packaged such recent broadcast network reality fare as “The Mole,” “Big Brother” and “Popstars,” is heading up WMA’s efforts.

Neil Young, VP, exec in charge of production and creator of “Majestic,” said the TV project would likely preem no earlier than June 2002.

That would coincide with “Majestic’s” second online season debut. Series would rep EA’s first foray into television.

Young said “Majestic” has been in development as a game for about two years and that it has infrastructure in place to accommodate millions of participants at one time.

He also said that TV was part of his “Majestic” plan from the get-go.

Virtual embrace

“The future of online entertainment needs to embrace TV,” Young said. “Entertainment experiences should include TV, the Internet, fax, phone and messaging. The whole can be much bigger than the parts if they’re used together.

“What we’d want to do with the TV component is figure a way for the TV show to be a vital anchor in the overall experience that could be watched by anyone, but gets to a new level by virtue of your deeper connection with the characters through the interactivity,” he added.