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Gimlet Announces Scripted Podcast Starring Kristen Wiig and Alia Shawkat, Renews ‘StartUp’ for Season 7

Company sets inaugural GimletFest for June 16-17 in Brooklyn

Podcast media company Gimlet Media unveiled a slate of three original series to premiere later in April, including scripted serialized show “Sandra” starring Kristen Wiig and Alia Shawkat.

The Brooklyn-based company also renewed docu-series “StartUp” for a seventh season. The two new shows in its nonfiction lineup are: “The Habitat,” exploring the lives of six individuals isolated for one year inside a small dome in Hawaii on a simulated Mars mission; and “We Came to Win,” exploring some of the most famous World Cup soccer matches of all time.

In addition, Gimlet Media announced GimletFest, its first live festival featuring creators and talent from its original shows, will run June 16-17 at the BRIC arts and media center in Brooklyn. Tickets for the festival, available at gimletfest.com starting April 25, will cost $25 for individual shows and $200 for an all-access pass.

“Sandra” stars Wiig (“Saturday Night Live,” “Bridesmaids”) as Sandra, billed as “the world’s most intuitive virtual assistant,” and Shawkat (“Search Party,” “Arrested Development”) as a new hire at the company that operates Sandra. All seven episodes will be available on Wednesday, April 18.

In the series, Helen Perera (Shawkat) spends her days at Orbital Teledynamics peeking into the lives of Sandra’s users — who don’t know that Sandra (voiced by Wiig) is powered by actual humans, not artificial intelligence. Helen’s own life becomes more unmanageable as she navigates a messy divorce, tries to keep her boss happy, and becomes ensnared in an increasingly unprofessional relationship with a heartbroken Sandra power-user named Tad.

Cast of the show also includes Christopher Abbott (“Girls”), Avi Rothman (“Love, Sex, and Missed Connections”) and Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”). “Sandra” was written by Kevin Moffett and Matthew Derby, executive produced by Mimi O’Donnell, Gimlet’s head of scripted fiction. The presenting sponsors of the show are HPE, Casper, Mozilla and Audible.

“StartUp” season 7 premieres April 27, with six episodes profiling Backstage Capital’s Arlan Hamilton, who has funded more than 50 entrepreneurs — all female, LGBT, and people of color. The newest season of “StartUp,” Gimlet’s first podcast, is hosted by Amy Standen.

“The Habitat,” with all seven episodes available April 18, looks at the six volunteers participating in a Mars-mission simulation on a remote mountain in Hawaii for one year. Host Lynn Levy has been chronicling the experiment since the beginning, communicating with the crew through audio diaries.

“We Came to Win,” timed to hit ahead of this summer’s 2018 FIFA World Cup, debuts with three episodes on April 25 with seven weekly installments to follow. Gimlet’s first sports series looks at matches including the U.S.’s shocking 2002 defeat of Mexico and Argentina star Diego Maradona’s controversial “Hand of God” goal in 1986 against England. “We Came to Win” is hosted by soccer journalist Nando Vila.

Gimlet Media, founded in 2014, has raised about $27 million in funding from investors including WPP, Laurene Powell Jobs’ Emerson Collective, Stripes Group, Graham Holdings, Cross Culture Ventures and Betaworks. In January, the company named Jenny Wall, formerly a marketing exec at Hulu and Netflix, as its chief marketing officer.

Watch a trailer for Gimlet’s three new shows:

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