CBS enters videogame sector

'Race,' 'Survivor' among 8 planned titles

Add CBS to the collection of media giants dipping their toes in the videogame waters.

The network’s consumer products division has announced plans to collaborate with a variety of game publishers for eight titles based on current and past series.

Two based on the “CSI” franchise are already on store shelves. Games based on “The Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “Criminal Minds,” “Diagnosis Murder,” “The Ghost Whisperer” and “The Hollywood Squares” are due next year.

The games will be available on a varying number of platforms, including the Wii, Nintendo DS, iPhone and iPod Touch.

Mining its portfolio of programs is a relatively low-risk way for the network to explore the gaming world. The financial risk is minimal, since CBS won’t be building the games inhouse.

By going with mostly smaller publishers, though, the extent of the possible reward is muted as well. Ubisoft developed the “CSI” games, but lesser-known companies such as Ludia and Legacy Interactive are handling the others. Smaller publishers tend to get less shelf space at retail outlets — and the titles will face strong competition from the slew of highly anticipated games hitting the market next year.

CBS has explored gaming before. In 2001, the company greenlit a PC game based on “Survivor,” as the popularity of the show hit stratospheric heights. Critics savaged the title, and sales were fairly low.

Core gamers aren’t the network’s target audience, though. The burgeoning number of casual players could work in CBS’ favor as people drift toward familiar names and the expected low retail cost of the games.

There’s a precedent in networks starting small and growing into powerful gaming forces. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment spent years licensing games from its Looney Tunes and DC Comics portfolio to publishers, quietly learning the ropes. Today, it’s one of the vidgame industry’s larger publishers.

Twentieth Century Fox, meanwhile, tapped Andre Emerson to become VP of videogame production for its licensing division in September, reflecting that company’s growing interest in the sector.

More TV

  • Joe Biden SXSW

    As Democrats Debate, TV News Tunes In Something Other Than Trump

    NBC News’ “Meet the Press” and CBS News’ “Face The Nation” regularly compete for Sunday-morning audiences and scoops from politicos. But this past weekend they looked nothing like one another. On NBC, President Donald Trump dominated the hour by sitting down for a taped interview with host Chuck Todd. Over at CBS, “Nation” moderator Margaret [...]

  • Myst Computer Game

    'Myst' Film and TV Rights Sell to Village Roadshow

    “Myst,” the influential video game that helped usher in the CD-ROM era, may inspire an ambitious multi-platform film and television universe. Village Roadshow Entertainment Group, the Australian-American co-producer and co-financier of the “Matrix” and “Sherlock Holmes” franchises, has acquired the rights to the first-person graphic adventure. For those born post-90s, “Myst” was wildly popular and [...]

  • FOX Entertainment Logo © FOX 2019

    Fox Orders Holiday Event Series 'A Moody Christmas' Based on Australian Comedy

    Fox is moving forward with its long-gestating American adaptation of the Australian comedy miniseries “A Moody Christmas” as a holiday event series, Variety has learned. The single-cam comedy follows Dan Moody as he returns home to spend Christmas with his dysfunctional family. When he arrives, he’s met with the inevitable madness of a family whose [...]

  • ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery Streamer Joyn Nets

    ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery Streamer Joyn Snags International Dramas

    Joyn has acquired a trio of international drama series from Beta Film. The German streaming service is run by local media giant ProSiebenSat.1 and Discovery. It has acquired Alex Pina’s acclaimed Spanish drama “The Pier,” Nordic noir thriller “Hassel,” and Russian drama “Trigger.” A U.S. deal is understood to be in the offing for “The [...]

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Beth Chapman, 'Dog the Bounty Hunter' Star, Dies at 51

    Beth Chapman, who was a staple of the TV show “Dog the Bounty Hunter” along with her husband, died Wednesday at a Honolulu hospital after days spent in a medically induced coma. She was 51. Her husband Duane Chapman confirmed the news on Twitter. “It’s 5:32 in Hawaii, this is the time she would wake [...]

  • 'The Handmaid's Tale' Team on Making

    'The Handmaid's Tale' Team on Making Washington D.C. 'Gilead on Steroids'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Household,” the sixth episode of the third season of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” For two and a half seasons, life in the dystopian regime of “The Handmaid’s Tale’s” Gilead appeared to be the worst possible future for a woman like June (Elisabeth Moss). But then she [...]

  • Michael Chiklis

    Paramount Network Orders Michael Chiklis Drama 'Coyote' to Series

    Paramount Network has greenlit the Michael Chiklis-led drama series “Coyote.” The Viacom-owned cabler has ordered a 10-episode first season of the one-hour series, the development of which was first announced in May. Chiklis stars as Ben Clemens who, after 32 years as a border patrol agent, is forced to work for the very people he [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content