There was a time when HQ Trivia was on everyone's lips, and millions of people were playing it in hopes of winning some money from its prize pot. Then the trivia show app was beset by one problem after another until it fell off the radar, lost its audience and shut down. CNN announced last year that it ordered a documentary that'll tell the game show's story, with the promise of launching it in 2023. Now CNN Films, the news channel's motion picture division, has released a trailer for the documentary entitled Glitch: The Rise & Fall of HQ Trivia, which is scheduled to premiere on CNN on March 5th at 9PM ET/PT.
During the height of its popularity, HQ Trivia ran two games a day, and users could win part of the prize pot by answering several questions correctly in a row. It was hosted by Scott Rogowsky, though celebrities like The Rock and Kelly Clarkson would sometimes serve as guest hosts. In 2018, however, its controversial co-founder Colin Kroll passed away, and then Rogowsky left reportedly after having a disagreement with management over another hosting job he took.
According to TechCrunch, more than half of HQ Trivia's staff also signed a petition to remove CEO Rus Yusupov, accusing him of mismanaging the startup. Yusupov then reportedly fired some of the people who led the petition before the company shut down following a failed acquisition in 2020. The trivia app quickly came back thanks to a new investor, but it only ran games once a week with a prize pot of $1,500. Today, the app is suspended in limbo and hasn't had a game since November 2022.
The CNN documentary will be told through the point of view of Rogowsky, along with other insiders from the company. Based on what Salima Koroma, the docu's director said, we're in for an entertaining ride: "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? The CEOs who make the Vines and the WeWorks and the Twitters are hailed as the rockstars 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."
Pay TV subscribers can stream the documentary when it premieres through CNN's website, its mobile apps and CNNgo. It will also be available for on demand streaming starting on March 6th.