Podcasters have steadily become legitimate characters in film and television. This is evident in the mainstream acceptance of podcasts and podcasters. Simultaenously, the podcast industry has become an IP minefield for television. It’s an avenue to tell new stories and connect with engaged audiences.
Consequently, if you’re curious about the podcast to film and television pipeline, these seven podcasts are worth your while.
Produced by ABC Studios, this podcast tracks the rise and fall of Theranos founder, Elizabeth Holmes. Due to its success, the podcast was adapted into a limited series. Amanda Seyfried delivers an Emmy-winning performance playing Holmes.
WeCrashed: The Rise and Fall of WeWork
A product of Wondery Media’s podcast network, WeCrashed looks at WeWork’s bid to redefine the shared office industry. It focuses on the founder, Adam Neumann, and his eccentricities. The Apple + original cast A list stars, Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway to play Neumann and his wife. Further to this, a companion podcast helps deepen the story.
A narrative podcast by Slate, Slow Burn offers a seasonal take on historic moments and events in U.S history. Season 1 portrays the Watergate scandal. Then, it was adapted into Gaslit. Season 2 on Bill Clinton’s impeachment was also used to inform the third season of American Crime Story.
Another Wondery product, Dr. Death tells stories of medical malpractice. Additionally, the TV show of the same name aired in July 2021. A second season is in production.
The Bodega Boys
The duo of Daniel Baker and Joel Martinez known by the alias Desus and Mero were able to transition their audience as prolific tweeters into their Desus vs Mero podcast. They created another podcast: The Bodega Boys. This was a success. They were able to earn late-night shows on Viceland and then, Showtime. At their peak, Presidents Barack Obama and Joe Biden appeared as guests.
However, the duo has recently gone separate ways.
Song Exploder is a podcast through which musicians deconstruct their songs. The artists talk about making the songs. Guests include Billie Eilish, U2, Metallica, Solange, Lorde, The Roots, Bon Iver, etc. Consequently, it inspired a two-season documentary series by Netflix.
This podcast was the product of a collaboration between Wondery and the Los Angeles Times. A true-crime podcast, it captures the criminal exploits of John Meehan. It launched to widespread success in 2017. Furthermore, the television adaptation followed in 2018.
Hollywood continues to tap into the podcast market to influence its story offering. This should be a consideration for potential podcasters as they conceptualize and develop their offerings. Stories can be told in different ways and do not necessarily need to be limited to one format. The possibilities are endless once the tasks of developing quality content and consistency are met. Narrative podcasts, for instance, are easier to adapt for the screen.
These shows offer some context to the trend. They help capture the interest of the format. Check them out and let us know which ones stand out to you.
What Does This Mean for the Indie Podcaster?
This is a positive trend for the average indie podcaster as it captures the potential that lies in the secondary market. A successful podcast could earn another lease of life alongside lucrative option fees if adapted for the screen. It also helps advance the profile of the podcast format. More eyes and ears are seeking inroads into the format. This means the existing audience will be on the rise highlighting a growing market for podcasters to target.
Narrative and fiction podcasters should aim for underreported stories which have novelty value and insure against saturation. If done right and consistently, the opportunity to adapt their work for the big screen could arise.