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Let's Try 'Mobile Play' for $500, Alex

Soon on-the-go users can play along with the Jeopardy! match that's on-air 3/28/2008 08:00:00 PM Eastern

If you sit at home thinking you could beat those know-it-alls on Jeopardy!, now you will have the chance.

The Sony Pictures Television game show and developer Airplay planned a March 31 announcement of an agreement to develop a multiplayer mobile game that will allow users to play along live with Jeopardy! contestants while the show airs, via their BlackBerry, cellphone or other PDA.

Harry Friedman, executive producer of both Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune, hopes to have the application up and running by next season, during which Jeopardy! will celebrate its 25th anniversary, as Wheel did this season.

“I am very excited about this, I think it is the next big step in extending the brand,” Friedman said. “We are literally putting the game in the hands of millions of players who always wanted to see how they'd fare against the contestants or their friends.”

Attempting to leverage the social networking craze, the application will also allow viewers to compete against their friends. Friedman says a major motivation for the brand extension was to appeal to younger viewers.

“It is a lot of that, but it is also in response to people telling us for years they want to play along with the show,” he says.

The mobile game will go through a beta phase that will include product testing and then a slow rollout into test markets that will be identified over the summer. Once satisfied, Friedman will take it national.

When Friedman signed his recent contract extension (B&C, Jan. 21), he said his goal was to bring real-time mobile and online applications to both of the shows.

With the Jeopardy! mobile game on the way, he will turn his attention to an online component. He still wants to find a way to make a live-play Wheel of Fortune application work.

Friedman jokes that mobile users will have the chance to get the same disapproving look that contestants get from host Alex Trebek when they get a question wrong. But they haven't found a way to work it into the mobile game as of yet.

“Alex actually comes to your house and says, 'Ooh, sorry!'” Friedman says.

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