Jul 25, 2012
‘CSI’s’ Anthony Zuiker goes digital with ‘Cybergeddon’
As anyone in TV knows, don’t bet against Anthony Zuiker.
When he came up with CSI, most people in Hollywood expected the show to be one of that season’s early failures. Instead, it became one of TV’s biggest hits – and the launchpad for an entire procedural genre.
So now Zuiker is striking out on a new frontier, the world of original on-line digital content. And he’s doing it with Cybergeddon, a crime thriller starring Missy Peregrym that will make its debut on Yahoo! this fall. And that debut will be world-wide, on the same day in more than 25 countries.
The show casts Peregrym as an agent looking into a series of cyber-attacks. When she’s framed by the cybercrime ring, she goes on the run – trying to crack the ring before they make their big strike.
So why would Zuiker move to the net? “Doing CSI for me was an amazing experience…but the need as an artist was to be able portray and tells stories that you had more control over with fewer people to answer to.”
Cybergeddon is a 90-minute film that, says producer Bill O’Dowd, probably will be released in nine segments of ten minutes each – Yahoo’s Bonnie Pan says she’s not ready to make the exact launch plan public. His hope is to reach an audience that’s bigger than the “traditional cable audience” in primetime of a few million viewers.
As for the cost, if the average TV movie costs between two and six million dollars, O’Dowd says this movie is toward “the high end of that number.”
Obviously, Zuiker and Yahoo hope to make that money back, an effort that includes ads and a heavily promoted link with a cyber security company. But whether there is a workable financial model for original internet programming remains to be seen.
“Financially,” says Zuiker, “time will tell. From an emotional level…the win is in the doing…We have had the guts to take the future in our hands.”