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Please, do not make a ‘Words With Friends’ TV game show

Image: zynga

It’s been roughly eight years after the Scrabble knock-off Words With Friends launched. And now, the hit game’s developer Zynga announced that it may develop a TV show focused around the competitive word game.

Why?

Zynga announced Wednesday that it is collaborating with MGM Television to develop a TV game show based on Words With Friends, and I’m here to tell them to stop.

Words With Friends, allegedly the most popular mobile word game in the world, came out in 2009, and found its peak popularity in 2010 and 2011. The game closely resembles Scrabble, with two players trying to create words on a grid with random letter tiles, scoring points for spelling out words.

The game is kind of fun, don’t get me wrong, but no part of it suggests that it would make for a fun viewer experience. Players get random letters every round and try to make words out of them. If anything, it sounds infuriating to watch.

Imagine watching a stranger play Words With Friends: They have a set of letters, you see a word they could lay down on the board to score big points, and they proceed to put down the shortest, worst possible word imaginable. There’s no clear entertainment value for viewers.

Zynga’s announcement does vaguely suggest the possibility of celebrities playing the game on the show, which may attract some viewers who want to watch their favorite celebs spell words. "Playing WORDS is a daily ritual for some of the biggest names in Hollywood and we’ve created the perfect format to capture their competitiveness and creative wordplay," Barry Poznick, president of MGM, said. Even if that ends up being the case, they’re still going to have to do a lot more than just that to attract a big enough audience to succeed, though.

Yesterday’s announcement does not mean that the Words With Friends TV will definitely be happening — it’s still incredibly early in development. Hopefully the people behind the idea realize there’s no redeeming quality to this show before they put too much time into it.