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Merv Griffin's Crosswords Goes Interactive

Program Partners, the company behind Merv Griffin’s Crosswords, has launched a suite of online and interactive features tied to the new syndicated game show.

Through a Crosswords microsite created for station affiliates’ Websites, viewers can play an at-home version of the game for a chance to win $1,000. The microsites also offer video replays of the show’s final rounds and a play-to-win sweepstakes for a chance to win a Microsoft Xbox 360.

The move is an effort by Program Partners and Merv Griffin Entertainment to extend the Crosswords brand across platforms, as well as to drive viewer traffic to local stations' sites. Earlier this month, the companies licensed the show to THQ’s ValuSoft, which plans to develop a Crosswords game for the Xbox Live Arcade and 360, and PlayStation2 console gaming systems due out in 2009.

Program Partners also has deals with toy-maker Hasbro to turn Crosswords into an at-home DVD game, and with U.K.-based Oberon Media to create a Web site and online version of the game.

“The half-hour show ends, and our audience just wants to keep playing Crosswords," said David Hutchinson, Program Partners’ Senior Vice President of New Media, in a statement. “These new games and contests get viewers more involved and give them new reasons to watch Crosswords.”