EXCLUSIVE: It was the live trivia game everyone wanted to play. If they could get the app to work.
HQ Trivia became a sensation not long after it was released for mobile platforms in 2017, promising cash prizes to users who could correctly answers a series of timed questions in rapid fire succession (eg. “What was the first successfully cloned animal?” Answer: sea urchin). But it eventually imploded, done in by constant technical problems and infighting among its key personnel.
The CNN Films documentary Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia explores what happened to the app that at one point attracted a million or more people at a time to its trivia contests. CNN Films released a trailer for the documentary today and announced it will premiere on CNN on Sunday, March 5. Glitch will stream live for pay TV subscribers via CNN.com and CNN OTT and mobile apps, or CNNgo (where available) and it will be available on demand beginning Monday, March 6, to pay TV subscribers via CNN.com, CNN apps, and cable operator platforms.
Glitch: The Rise and Fall of HQ Trivia, produced by Left/Right for CNN Films and HBO Max, is directed by Salima Koroma (Dreamland: The Burning of Black Wall Street).
“HQ Trivia was supposed to ‘revolutionize television.’ But what happens when the people who are running it—’the smartest guys in the room’— don’t actually know what they’re doing?” Koroma said in a statement. “The CEOs who make the Vines and the WeWorks and the Twitters are hailed as the rock stars of our age. But a lot of them are simply emperors with no clothes on. It’s kind of absurd. And I wanted that absurdity to be felt all throughout the film.”
In a release, CNN Films noted, “[T]his timely documentary chronicles the tech-fueled rise and Fyre-style fall of HQ Trivia, the revolutionary ‘game show on your phone’ app that went viral, swept the nation, then crashed and burned. The global live-play game sensation drew millions of daily users to its frenetically fun trivia challenges and cash prizes, attracting celebrity fans including Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Neil Patrick Harris, Jimmy Kimmel, and Kelly Clarkson. But its success was undone by corporate clashes, cast changes, and a tragic death. Told through the eyes of former host Scott Rogowsky and other first-person players from inside and outside the company, the film documents the real-life comedy and tragedy that unfolded in front of and behind the cameras.”
Amy Entelis, executive vice president for talent and content development, CNN Worldwide, commented, “HQ Trivia was a national sensation that captured the zeitgeist, disrupting daily habits to an obsessive degree – and then suddenly it was over in a flash. CNN Films has developed a sweet spot for projects that uncover the stories behind the headlines, and we are delighted to work with the talented Salima Koroma to peel back the layers of this key moment in pop culture.”
Ken Druckerman and Banks Tarver of Left/Right serve as executive producers, alongside Amy Entelis and Courtney Sexton for CNN Films. Dylan Abruscato and Brandon Teitel are co-executive producers. The film is produced by Olivia Snyder-Spak and Kevin Vargas.
Watch the trailer above.
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