‘Serial’: Will the TV Show Live Up to the Podcast?
Serial is about to make the leap to the small screen. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the producer-director duo behind the 21 Jump Street franchise and The Lego Movie, are reportedly working on a TV show based on the hugely successful podcast that captivated audiences everywhere last fall.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Lord, Miller, and Fox 21 Television Studios have optioned the screen rights to the popular podcast, which is narrated by This American Life‘s Sarah Koenig. Though specific details about the project are being kept tightly under wraps, the cable show won’t focus on Adnan Syed, whose case involving the murder of Hae Min Lee was the subject of the first season of Serial. Instead, the show will reportedly take a behind-the-scenes approach, chronicling the experience of creating and putting together the podcast that became a huge cultural phenomenon and turned Koenig into a household name.
The television adaptation has apparently been in the works for a while now. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Lord and Miller pitched their idea of bringing Serial to the small screen to Koenig and other This American Life producers, who immediately responded enthusiastically. The show doesn’t have a network attached yet, but will reportedly be shopped out to cable channels once a team of writers is put in place.
In addition to creating the concept, Lord and Miller will serve as executive producers for the project. Koenig and her fellow Serial producers Julie Snyder, Alissa Shipp, and Ira Glass will serve as co-executive producers.
“Chris and Phil take an unexpected approach to telling stories and that is so appealing to us at Serial,” Synder said of the developing project, per the Hollywood Reporter. “They experiment. They don’t mimic formulas. Developing a show with them is exciting because we feel like we speak the same language, only they’re smarter than us.”
Whether Serial can fare as well on the small screen as it did in its original form remains to be seen. The intriguing story of a case like Syed’s is a big part of what made the podcast so appealing. Since the TV version will focus less on that element and more on the creative process behind the narrative, it’s hard to tell whether audiences will find the show as compelling as the podcast. Still, the series may provide some insight for those interested in learning more about how Koenig and the other producers build each season of Serial.
Audiences will have to stay tuned for more details on the TV series, including when and where it will air. In the meantime, the Serial team is busy working on the second season of the true crime podcast. As reported earlier this month, season two will allegedly investigate the case of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was held captive by the Taliban for five years after leaving his base in Afghanistan and freed last year in exchange for five Taliban detainees from Guantánamo Bay. Koenig and her team will reportedly try to get to the bottom of why Bergdahl left the safety of his base in the first place.
Season 2 of the Serial podcast is slated to premiere sometime this fall.