[01/13/09 - 01:03 PM]
CBS and Eqal Announce "Harper's Island" as a Multi-Platform Social Show Collaboration
The online social show will launch on Wednesday, March 18, several weeks prior to the broadcast premiere of HARPER'S ISLAND on Thursday, April 9.

[via press release from CBS]


The Mystery Event To Premiere Online With Original Web Content That Is Complementary To The Upcoming Prime Time Television Show

CBS and EQAL, the creators of lonelygirl15, today announced that the upcoming 13- episode mystery event HARPER'S ISLAND will be a multi-platform series the companies have collaborated on to deliver an interactive and social entertainment experience.

Prior to the premiere of the primetime series, CBS and EQAL will launch HARPER'S GLOBE (http://www.harpersglobe.com/) online with original social show episodes that will be complementary to the television storyline with overlapping characters, locations and plots that will continue to evolve throughout the first season of the television show. In addition to being available on HarpersGlobe.com, all content will be available at CBS.com, on CBS Mobile and across the CBS Audience Network.

Representatives from CBS Entertainment, CBS Paramount Network Television, CBS Interactive, as well as writing teams from the show and EQAL, have been working in close collaboration since the series was at the script level last spring to ensure the on air, online and on mobile narratives are cohesive and complementary across all mediums. The online social show will launch on Wednesday, March 18, several weeks prior to the broadcast premiere of HARPER'S ISLAND on Thursday, April 9 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) and will coexist with the weekly television show concluding with the broadcast finale on Thursday, July 2 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT).

HARPER'S ISLAND is about a group of family and friends who travel to a secluded island for a destination wedding. They've come to laugh... to love... and, though they don't know it... to die. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested and secrets exposed as a murderer claims victims, one by one, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a terrifying struggle for survival. In every episode, someone is killed and every person is a suspect, from the wedding party to the island locals. By the end of the 13 episodes, all questions will be answered, the killer will be revealed and only a few will survive.

"HARPER'S ISLAND is a really unique show, so I was thrilled when the network and the studio decided to break new ground and exploit all platforms of the show from the start," said executive producer Jon Turteltaub. "Putting CBS Interactive together with EQAL gives the show an innovative and entertaining online presence a full three weeks before they launch the on-air program. The multi-platform, interactive elements at HarpersGlobe.com expand the whole experience of our show, which I feel is beyond necessary in the world of such rapidly changing media. We have to make our show an Internet event, as well as a broadcast TV event."

"At CBS we are committed to creating content and experiences that are unique to the Web and mobile platforms and complementary to and expand on our television programming," said Quincy Smith, CEO, CBS Interactive. "This commitment was the catalyst to our partnering with EQAL. As the creators of lonelygirl15 and KateModern they get that the Web is a new medium. HARPER'S ISLAND represents ideal content to showcase on multiple platforms because of its potential to attract engaged audiences who want to make the show an event every day."

"It's not a pre-requisite to go online in order to follow the series on-air, but those who do will have an authentic entertainment experience that drills deeper into the mythology and mystery happening on HARPER'S ISLAND," said Nancy Tellem, President, CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group. "Since the pilot phase, the writers have been working with our colleagues at EQAL and CBS Interactive to make Harper's Globe a destination that is a unique yet faithful connection to the television series while sustaining the curiosity and conversation before and between episodes."

"The best shows on television are those that leave you wanting more at the closing credits each week. With CBS we're giving fans more. More characters, more plotlines and more ways than ever before to interact with a television show," said Miles Beckett, CEO of EQAL. "By bringing together the unique elements of both mediums, we're able to extend and amplify the HARPER'S ISLAND experience to engage fans in a whole new way."

In addition to collaborating with CBS on the writing, producing, and directing all of the social show content, EQAL will also help provide the technology infrastructure to host the social show which includes built-in interactive and community elements.

Jon Turteltaub ("Jericho") and Jeffrey Bell ("Alias," "Angel," "The X-Files") are executive producers for CBS Paramount Network Television in association with Junction Entertainment. Karim Zreik ("Jericho"), Dan Shotz ("Jericho") and Tyler Bensinger ("Cold Case") are co-executive producers and Ari Schlossberg ("Hide and Seek") is co-executive producer and creator.

The social show episodes are executive produced by Miles Beckett and Greg Goodfried, co-founders of EQAL, and Matt Seigel, co-executive produced by James Sterling, directed by Tony Valenzuela, written by Jennifer Yale and starring Melanie Merkosky.

In addition to this first collaboration on HARPER'S ISLAND, CBS Interactive and EQAL have an ongoing partnership. First announced in May 2008, the agreement calls for EQAL to conceptualize, develop and produce social shows related to CBS' television series. In addition, EQAL acts as a consulting partner to CBS Interactive, and provides the network with a 'first look' at new multi-platform show concepts developed by the company.

About CBS Interactive

CBS Interactive, a division of CBS Corporation, is the best online content network for information and entertainment. With more than 170 million people visiting its properties each month, it is the 8th largest Web property globally. Its portfolio of leading brands, which include CNET, CBS.com, CBSSports.com, GameSpot, TV.com, BNET and Last.fm, span popular categories like technology, entertainment, sports, news and business.

About EQAL

EQAL (pronounced "Equal") is a social entertainment company dedicated to changing the way content is consumed. Merging technology with creative development and production expertise, EQAL is a leader in the creation of social shows. The company recently concluded the runs of the two most successful social dramas, lonelygirl15 and KateModern, which had over 150 million combined views, and in September 2008 launched its newest online serial; LG15: The Resistance. Through partnerships with independent producers, traditional media companies, and multi-national brands, EQAL is dedicated to building online communities that engage users like never before. EQAL is headquartered in Los Angeles. For more information: http://www.eqal.com/.

  [january 2009]  


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