×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

The ‘Serial’ Team’s New Podcast, ‘S-Town,’ Tops 10 Million Downloads in Four Days

Episodes of “S-Town,” the new Southern Gothic-esque investigative-journalism podcast from the creative team behind 2014 breakout hit “Serial,” have been downloaded more than 10 million in the first four days of its release — setting a new record in the podcasting world.

The original “Serial” first season took seven weeks to reach 10 million downloads, setting a record at the time in reaching that milestone. However, those episodes were released on a weekly basis, whereas all seven episodes of Serial Productions’ “S-Town” were released for binge-listening on March 28.

In “S-Town,” longtime “This American Life” producer Brian Reed begins by delving into a murder mystery in a rural Alabama town. He began reporting on the story three years ago, after he was contacted by John B. McLemore, an antique clock restorer from Woodstock, Ala., asking Reed to investigate the scion of a wealthy family who had allegedly been bragging about getting away with murder. As the podcast unfolds, someone else winds up dead — and new mysteries emerge about a bitter feud and a hunt for hidden treasure. (The name of the podcast derives from McLemore’s description of his hometown as “Shittown.”)

Overall, episodes of the first two seasons of “Serial” have been downloaded more than 250 million times, according to Serial Productions. That includes about 175 million for “Serial” season 1 (which comprised 12 episodes in 2014 and three updates released last year). The New York-based company is partnered with public radio’s “This American Life,” which is produced in collaboration with Chicago Public Media. Serial Productions has two other series in development but hasn’t released details about those.

In another data point highlighting the popularity of “S-Town,” the feed for the podcast series already has 1.45 million subscribers since Serial Productions released the trailer a little over two weeks ago. By comparison, the “Serial” feed has 2.4 million, and “This American Life” has 2 million.

“Serial” launched in 2014 as a spinoff of “This American Life,” with Sarah Koenig narrating the team’s investigation into the 2000 conviction of Adnan Syed for the murder of his girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in Baltimore. The show led to a judge granting Syed a retrial in the case. Season two of “Serial” told the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who was captured by the Taliban.

The “S-Town” podcast is free to stream from the Serial Productions’ website and can be downloaded from iTunes and for apps from Stitcher and RadioPublic. The seven episodes vary in length from 47 to 63 minutes each. The show is sponsored by Squarespace and Blue Apron.

“S-Town” is executive produced by Reed and Julie Snyder, who co-created “Serial” with Koenig. The editorial team for the podcast includes “This American Life” creator and host Ira Glass, Koenig and Neil Drumming.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Podium Publishing Taps Scott P. Dickey

    Podium Publishing Taps Scott P. Dickey as Chief Executive Officer

    Independent audiobook publisher Podium Publishing has selected veteran media executive Scott P. Dickey as chief executive officer. Greg Lawrence, former CEO and co-founder,  remains as Podium’s publisher and a member of the board of directors. As CEO, Dickey will set and implement the day-to-day and long-term marketing, production and business strategy for the company as [...]

  • "The Stockholm Syndrome" - Pictured: Rajesh

    Inside the Blockbuster $600 Million 'Big Bang Theory' Streaming Deal With HBO Max

    As one of TV’s most popular shows of the past 20 years, “The Big Bang Theory” was sure to command a huge price when the streaming rights were finally shopped in a red-hot market for iconic comedies with large libraries. But “Big Bang Theory” wasn’t shopped widely on the open market before the streaming pact [...]

  • Mark Zuckerberg Facebook

    Mark Zuckerberg Can Be Overruled by Facebook's New Oversight Board on Content Decisions

    Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook, can’t be ousted by investors — he owns a controlling interest in the company’s voting shares. But according to the social giant, the new Oversight Board — colloquially called Facebook’s “Supreme Court” — that it is setting up to adjudicate appeals about whether to leave up or take [...]

  • YouTube - Google UK Offices

    Google Launches Ability to Find Key Moments in YouTube Videos via Search

    Google has introduced a new way to find exact moments in YouTube videos through its search engine, with initial partners including CBS Sports. According to Google, search results now will provide links to key moments within the video — if, that is, YouTube content creators have provided the necessary timestamp information to Google. “You’ll be [...]

  • Spotify logo is presented on a

    Spotify VP Paul Vogel Talks Subscription Prices, Label Licenses, Podcasts

    The annual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference gives representatives from major companies the opportunity to present to the investment community, and Paul Vogel, Spotify’s VP and head of financial planning & analysis, treasury and investor relations, spoke on the streaming giant’s behalf on Tuesday morning. While many of his comments were statements frequently heard in the [...]

  • Directv Now

    AT&T Sued for Allegedly Creating Bogus DirecTV Now Accounts

    A group of investors sued AT&T, alleging the telco artificially inflated subscriber counts for its DirecTV Now streaming service — including by creating fake accounts. In the federal class-action lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that AT&T wanted to make DirecTV Now seem more successful than it actually was as another way to rationalize its $85 billion [...]

  • Streaming Battle: Disney, Apple and More

    The Battle for Eyeballs Makes for an Action-Packed Streaming Arena (Column)

    It came as no surprise last week that Disney CEO Bob Iger had resigned from the Apple board since the two companies are poised to launch competing subscription streaming services in less than two months. But Iger’s departure (announced the same day that Apple revealed its Nov. 1 launch date and $5-a-month price point) underscores [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content