“Serial,” the much-hyped crime series podcast from “This American Life” radio producer Sarah Koenig, is heading for the small screen courtesy of “The Last Man on Earth” exec producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller as well as Fox 21 Television Studios.
But, as with all good mystery stories, there is a twist: The TV version will not follow the initial story from the podcast, that of the 1999 murder of Baltimore-area teen Hae Min Lee and whether her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was serving time for a crime he did not commit.
Instead, this project will be for a cable series based on the experience of making the podcast. The producers are currently identifying a writer or writers for the project. Once found, they will pitch the series to cable networks.
“From the very first week of ‘Serial’s’ release last fall, everyone at Fox 21TVS was obsessed with the podcast. One year later, thanks to the incredible passion of Chris and Phil, who flew to New York and shared their vision with Sarah, Julie, Alissa and Ira for what the series could be, we’re moving forward on this exciting project. What you have here is a ‘once every ten years creative storytelling phenom’ with a ‘once in ten years take’ with a ‘once in twenty-five years creative team.’ We are confident we’ll attract a spectacular writer and look forward to pitching it to outlets very soon,” said Fox 21 Television Studios president Bert Salke.
Lord, Miller and Seth Cohen are exec producing. Koenig will also exec produce, as will “This American Life’s” Julie Snyder, Alissa Shipp and Ira Glass.
“Chris and Phil take an unexpected approach to telling stories and that is so appealing to us at ‘Serial,'” said Snyder. “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.”
Seasons 2 and 3 of “Serial” are already in the works, with the second season concentrating on the story of captured Army officer Bowe Bergdahl. A TV series based on “This American Life” previously aired for two seasons on Showtime.
Lord and Miller are repped by UTA and Matthew Johnson of Ziffren Brittenham. The duo has an overall deal with 20th Century Fox and Fox 21 Television Studios.
Koenig, Snyder, Ship and Glass are repped by UTA and by Linda Lichter at Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler Feldman.