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May 07, 2009

'Guitar Hero': Reality show?

Guitar-hero-logo There was a spree of shows a few years back where cable networks tried to cover gaming tournaments like sporting events. For the most part, the efforts were pure fail. Magazine-style shows that covered  video game news and reviews -- like G4's Attack of the Show -- turned out to be far more effective than watching sweaty gamers in button mashing tournaments. Maybe a reality show based on the massively successful Guitar Hero franchise will prove different, but the idea feels a bit trend-jumping and late to the game.

By Paul Bond

The worldwide hit video game "Guitar Hero" could become a reality TV show and/or a real-life concert tour, people familiar with the discussions said Thursday.

"Hero" is from Activision Blizzard, a leading video game publisher that is looking to turn some of its games into TV and film properties.

Activision's cross-platform interests don't end at "Hero" either; discussions are under way to turn the "World of Warcraft" and "Call of Duty" video games into movies.

"They are being talked about for the big screen," said one person with knowledge of the details.

In an interview prior to Thursday's quarterly earnings conference call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wouldn't comment on the movie speculation. But asked about the "Hero" franchise he did say, "It might make for a good TV show or a good concert tour."

"Hero" and "Duty" in the first quarter were two of the Top 5 best-selling franchises across all video game platforms in Europe and the U.S. "World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King" was the top PC game, in terms of revenue, in the U.S.

Kotick added that video games, especially family-friendly "Hero," are "capturing leisure time away from TV and film. Not that readers of The Hollywood Reporter want to hear that." MORE from this story here.

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