After last fall’s runaway success of Serial, the race was on to see what company would be first to launch its own version of the true-crime podcast. It looks like the winner will be Investigation Discovery, which announced plans for its own true-crime podcast today at the TCA’s winter press tour.
Henry Schleiff, ID’s Group President, didn’t share too many details about the podcast onstage, but he gave me some scoop afterwards about the project, which he’s fast-tracking for this spring even though he hasn’t yet settled on a subject, or host.
“I think we were all surprised by the amount of press and attention—and indeed some of the viewership, or ‘soundship’—that the podcast got,” explained Schleiff, who credits a lesson he learned from the late Don Hewitt, who created 60 Minutes. “He used to say about 60 Minutes, ‘If you can turn off the video and just listen to the voices, you’ve still got a great story.’ You put that learning and you put the experience of podcasts together and we said, great, we tell stories really well, why don’t we do our own version, and we’ll do a multi-arc podcast.”
Schleiff also shared some possible hosting ideas: could Susan Lucci be the new Sarah Koenig?
Like everyone I know, and more than 1.4 million others around the world, I’m hopefully addicted to the podcast Serial, fall’s most riveting show. (Episode 9 is less than 24 hours away!) As I wrote at Quartz,
It’s also captured our imagination in a way no TV show has done this fall, and has the kind of deafening buzz and rabid fan base that any series would kill for. The unlikely global phenomenon is also the strongest proof in years that taut, weekly storytelling trumps the increasingly-popular binge-watching method that Netflix helped pioneer.
While my own tweets occasionally flourish and become stories, in this case I was inspired by a tweet from someone else, Veep actor Timothy Simons:
The success of @serial is a pretty stellar argument against the idea of releasing all eps of a tv show at once.
That crystallized something I’d been thinking about myself, and gave me the perfect opportunity to finally write the anti-binging story (at least when it comes watching TV’s best shows) that I’ve been mulling for months.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go back to counting down the minutes until Episode 9 of Serial drops!