Update: ABC has issued a press release about the program:
ABC PICKS UP NEW REALITY SERIES “WHODUNNIT?”
FROM “CSI” CREATOR ANTHONY E. ZUIKER
New Series Will Air in Summer 2013 on ABC, with Reality Veteran
Cris Abrego Executive-Producing Along with Zuiker
Anthony E. Zuiker, the creator of the “CSI” franchise, begins production on his first primetime reality series “Whodunnit?” Cris Abrego partners with Zuiker for the new nine-episode summer alternative series, which is produced by Zuiker’s Dare to Pass and 51 Minds. The series puts 13 contestants’ investigative skills to the test in a new mystery reality competition this summer on ABC.
Each week players will use a variety of crime scene investigation techniques to meticulously uncover evidence that will ultimately reveal who among them is the killer. The interactive series will pit 13 amateur sleuths against each other in a quest to solve a series of puzzling murders. Some will form alliances and others will choose to go it alone just to get them closer to the grand prize. The contestants will reside on a glamorous estate where each week they must solve a new crime in order to advance in the game. Failure to solve the crime will lead to each player’s demise until only three are left. In the final episode, one player will unmask the killer and take home the $250,000 prize.
“I’ve built a career telling crime stories, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned, especially from ‘CSI,’ it’s that the audience loves to solve the mystery,” said Zuiker. “‘Whodunnit?’ allows everyday fans to be in the show themselves and get the chance every week to do what they love best, which is ultimately solve the case.”
“‘Whodunnit?’ takes the best elements from the timelessly entertaining narrative form, the murder mystery, and infuses it with all the contemporary energy of a competition based reality show,” added Abrego. “The mystery fans who suddenly find themselves in the middle of an unfolding murder mystery won’t actually be playing for their lives, of course, but they’ll certainly feel like they are, and it promises to be just as engaging and suspenseful for the viewers at home.”
Anthony E. Zuiker is the creator of television’s hugely successful “CSI” franchise, which includes “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York.” He also serves as executive producer alongside Whit Anderson on “Wonderland,” a new drama pilot currently in production. Zuiker’s production company, Dare to Pass, has a three-year first-look deal with ABC Studios to develop new scripted series in partnership with Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Zuiker is also credited as one of the most groundbreaking cross-platform storytellers today. He created and executive-produced “Cybergeddon,” the digital blockbuster for Yahoo! which launched in September of 2012 as a series of installments that rolled out sequentially over three days in 25 different countries and in 10 different languages. He also pioneered the “Digi-novel” genre as author of the Level 26 series, published by Dutton/Penguin Group.
Cris Abrego is a name that is synonymous when referencing reality television. He formed his own production company, 51 Minds, where he created and served as executive producer on “Next Action Star” with producing partner Joel Silver. Abrego created and executive-produced “The Surreal Life,” which in its third season made a move to cable and became the cornerstone of the network’s Celebreality programming block, which included “Flavor of Love” and “Rock of Love.”
Abrego has produced more than 11 different franchise series, including “T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle,” “La La’s Full Court Life” and CMT’s “Top Secret Recipe.”
“Whodunnit?” is produced by Dare to Pass and 51 Minds. Anthony Zuiker and Cris Abrego are executive producers. Matt Weinberg, president of Dare to Pass, also serves as producer.
ABC has picked up a new reality series Whodunnit? The nine episode series is slated to debut next summer. The series, which is produced by CSI creator Anthony Zuiker's production company, is a competition similar to a murder mystery party, with contestants living together in a mansion and attempting to solve a fictional mystery.