A second season of Whodunnit is a possibility, and could even feature celebrity contestants, according to its executive producer, CSI creator Anthony Zuiker, who has kept the game play of the show alive since the season finale with a special Twitter version.
Zuiker told me that Whodunnit was “the best experience of my career,” because “the team was so great” and ABC “was very hands-off and very trusting.” A week after the show ended, in part because of reaction from fans who were missing the show, he began spending 7 to 8 hours every few days to run mini-versions of Whodunnit‘s game on his personal Twitter account, giving clues in locations and even having challenges. He said that the Twitter experiment resulted in some “happy accidents,” including direct messaging challenge winners additional clues.
The ninth and final episode starts at 3 p.m. ET today, and the game’s winner will be flown to L.A. to spend time with Zuiker on the set of Whodunnit‘s second season–“pending that we get a pick-up,” Zuiker said.
How possible is a second season? Zuiker said “the analytics have come back very positive” and “the pop in the finale helped”–referring to increased ratings for the last episode. He said it’s about “going upstairs and fighting the fight to come back.” If it does return, he said that he and executive producer Cris Abergo “don’t have a lot of structural changes for the show. … We think the show is the show.”
However, he suggested one major possible change, beyond a possible “new venue”: “It’s going to come down to whether we do it with real people again or with celebrities; that’s a conversation we have. And I think the only criticism I would have of the show personally, I want to make sure that you can emotionally invest in the contestants more.”
I brought up my major criticism: the irrelevance of the title, which confused people even through the finale, when Kam won despite guessing the wrong person was the killer. Although the show had a contestant-as-murderer, that never really mattered; this was not The Mole.
Zuiker called that an “interesting position” and said that having a contestant-as-murderer created paranoia and enhanced the game’s social dynamics. He said, “we may have the discussion to infuse more motive” for the crimes, tying the crimes to the killer contestant and thus making the “who” more relevant, but said, “it adds a lot of production risks doing that.”
He did admit that Whodunnit “was all about the howdunnit” and added, “I think the audience has fun regardless.” That’s seems to be true for those playing #Twitdunnit, even though it has only been “actively 300 [people] deep,” which seems like a lot of effort for little reward. But Zuiker said it’s beneficial in part because “these people on Twitter–these young kids, these people at work–are really sharing a little bit of stardom by having that level of engagement with me.”
He also said it “teaches me a lot about how our fans process crime scenes,” which will help him as he develops crimes for season two. Let’s hope that happens: ABC took risks with the previous summer’s Glass House, which was sadly cancelled, and I’d like to see the network and producers be rewarded for the chances it took with Whodunnit, misleading title and all.