In Cannes to receive the 2013 Pioneer Prize at the International Digital Emmy Awards tonight, CSI franchise creator Anthony E. Zuiker talked about NBC drama pilot Wonderland during a Q&A this afternoon. Zuiker, who’s exec producing the series, said the Whit Anderson-scripted show will follow Alice and a new character, Clara. Clara is “having the worst day of her life” when she is sent to Wonderland where it turns out her father has been living for several years. To get her life back on track, Clara must rise up against Wonderland’s reigning Queen, the woman once known as Alice. Deadline recently reported that the pilot will not be produced within the regular pilot season because of the scale and complexity of the production.
Zuiker also spoke about Cybergeddon, the series for which he’s being honored here at Mip-TV. The online thriller launched on Yahoo in September last year in 25 different countries and 10 different languages. Oliver Martinez and Missy Peregrym starred in the series about the growing threat of cybercrime. Notably, the series partnered with Symantec which helped on the tech aspect, but also featured heavily. “We explained the value to them for a (project with) a shelf life of 30 years,” Zuiker said. “A 30-second spot on CSI cost $1M” at the time, but “for that same $1M for Symantec, you make a movie with a shelf life. You can’t cut the brand out of the movie,” but an ad “goes away in the blink of an eye,” he explained. Zuiker noted that he’s developing projects that involve such brands as Samsung and Dr Pepper. “Bringing a product to life and seeing it in a different way is really exciting.”
ABC recently laid out its summer schedule, adding Zuiker’s mystery reality competition show Whodunnit?. Inspired by his work on CSI, Zuiker explained that he’s “been trying to crack the CSI competition show for years.” Whodunnit?, which kicks off a nine-episode run on June 23, sees 13 contestants live in a glitzy manor replete with evening cocktails, “then out of nowhere, someone ‘dies’ and the butler comes out to tell them there’s a ‘killer’ amongst them,” Zuiker said. Contestants will use a variety of crime scene investigation techniques to uncover evidence. They must solve a new ‘murder’ each week in order to advance in the game and at the end of each episode a new person ‘dies’ a ‘cruel death’ to kick off the next week’s installment. In the final episode, one player will unmask the killer and take home the $250,000 prize.
Zuiker wrapped up saying he’d been enjoying his first time in Cannes, but had had “too much foie gras.” Hey, you can’t get it in California anymore.