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CBS is adapting Candy Crush into a live-action game show

Makers of Popular Candy Crush Game Make Public Debut On New York Stock
Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Have you ever paused a game of Candy Crush, perhaps while passing time on the toilet or the subway, and thought, “This game is fun, but what I really want is an hour-long television program”?

CBS certainly hopes so. The network has partnered with Lionsgate Television and Candy Crush developer King to adapt the puzzle game into a live-action game show.

Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda, two of the most successful smartphone games in the US, are played by matching objects on a game board — which is to say, while fun to play, the games can be rather dull to watch. You’d think the adaptation would leverage the brand name, but not much else. According to this detail from a press release announcing the series, you’d be wrong.

In the series, the game that has become a worldwide phenomenon comes to life as teams of two people use their wits and physical agility to compete on enormous, interactive game boards featuring next generation technology to conquer CANDY CRUSH and be crowned the champions. A host will be announced at a later date.

I’m bullish that a talented production team can turn most anything into an okay network television program. But it’s difficult to read these quotes and not be a smidgen skeptical (emphasis my own).

Glenn Geller, president, CBS Entertainment:

“We are huge fans of Candy Crush and, like so many others, we know the ‘rush’ of advancing to the next level of the game.”

Peter Levin, president, Interactive Ventures and Games for Lionsgate, and executive producer on the series:

“We have a very entrepreneurial culture at Lionsgate, so we look for awesome worldwide IP like Candy Crush and work together across divisions to bring it to fans on every platform possible. Everyone who has played it knows that Candy Crush is an exciting, visual switcher game with great characters”

I am genuinely curious how the television show will capture Candy Crush’s “visual switcher” spirit.

There is one hint at how the show just might be fun, and it’s buried in a quote from executive producer Matt Kunitz. “The Candy Crush franchise lends itself perfectly to the kind of larger-than-life, physical game shows that I love to produce.” Kunitz previously had a hand in Wipeout and Fear Factor. If Candy Crush is a large-scale update of Nick Arcade or Legends of the Hidden Temple, basically a video game played in real life by a human, then yes. Yes, this could be a very good idea.