Miles Beckett—chief executive of the Web company EQAL (pronounced "equal")—told SCI FI Wire that his company is developing an interactive online series called Harper's Globe tied to CBS' upcoming limited horror/mystery series Harper's Island.
Harper's Globe is an original "social show" of episodes that will be complementary to the television storyline, with overlapping characters, locations and plots that will continue to evolve throughout the first season of the TV series. In addition to being available on HarpersGlobe.com, all content will be available at CBS.com, on CBS Mobile and across the CBS Audience Network. (EQAL is the company behind lonelygirl15 and KateModern.)
"We started talking to [executive producer] Jon Turteltaub—who's the director, and it's his production company doing the show—really early on," Beckett said in an exclusive interview at WonderCon in San Francisco last weekend. "And so from that point, really, they had ... a pilot script written and they had a pilot presentation, and they hadn't even hired their head writer, and we were already starting to talk to them about working on the show."
CBS describes Harper's Island as the story of a group of family and friends who travel to a secluded island off Seattle for a destination wedding. Abby Mills (Elaine Cassidy), whose mother was killed on the island by a homicidal maniac's rampage seven years ago, journeys home for the first time since the horrific event for the wedding of her best friend, Henry Dunn (Christopher Gorham). Henry, the boy next door, is marrying the woman of his dreams, Trish Wellington (Katie Cassidy, no relation to Elaine), a beautiful and wealthy heiress. As the wedding festivities begin, friendships are tested and secrets exposed as a murderer claims victims, one by one, transforming the wedding week of fun and celebration into a terrifying struggle for survival. By the end of the 13 episodes, all questions will be answered, the killer will be revealed and only a few will survive.
"The premise behind Harper's Globe is there's a girl named Robin who has a sort of mysterious past, and she travels to Harper's Island to work for ... Harper's Globe, which is the newspaper on the island," Beckett said. "And she's going to be digitizing old articles and building a community-based Web site, HarpersGlobe.com, for the newspaper and for the island. And so she gets there, and then things start to go awry." Robin will be played by Melanie Merkosky; she will also appear as a peripheral character on the TV series.
"The first episode [of Harper's Globe] is March 18th, and it runs for four weeks leading into the TV show [which premieres on CBS April 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT], and then it runs simultaneous to the TV show through the season," Beckett said. "Our character, Robin, will be appearing in the TV show. Some of the TV characters will be appearing in the ... social show. ... It's two different stories, but they're part of ... the greater story of Harper's Island, and so they are intertwined together."
Beckett promises that Harper's Globe will differ from tie-in webisodes for other shows. "This is something unlike anything that's been done before, in a few ways," he said. He added: "This is integrated into the narrative that you're watching on TV, so as you're watching the TV show, you can go to the Web site every single day and get a deeper experience. And then the final piece is ... the way we produce our shows, we call them social shows, it really is a hybrid between a video series and a social network."