Slated to premiere in November, “The Catch and Kill Podcast With Ronan Farrow” will feature new audio material and interviews with people Farrow interviewed about allegations involving sexual misconduct of media industry figures including Harvey Weinstein and Matt Lauer — and attempts to prevent the stories from becoming public.
The investigative reporter entered into a podcast production deal with Pineapple Street Studios, a division of Entercom Communications’ Radio.com online audio group. The limited-series podcast will serve as an audio companion to Farrow’s “Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators.”
Farrow told Variety he was approached by several podcast production houses about a deal tied to “Catch and Kill.” Because he wanted to take a deeper dive on the material geared around first-person interviews to expand on his reporting for the book, he went with Pineapple Street. “Pineapple is world-class for this kind of podcast production,” he said.
“There are compelling characters in the book, and this has keyed up a moment after people process the headlines from the book to… hear compelling, intimate conversations” from the subjects themselves, Farrow said. He said the podcast will include new details and evidence directly from his ongoing reporting.
An excerpt of an early episode that aired last week on “The New Yorker Radio Hour” podcast featured Farrow interviewing Igor Ostrovskiy, who was initially hired by investigative firm Black Cube at Weinstein’s behest to spy on Farrow before ultimately becoming an ally and a source.
Farrow declined to reveal the other subjects he is interviewing for the podcast, but said he’s recorded sessions for the podcast so far in New York, Chicago and L.A.
Max Linsky, co-head of Pineapple Street Studios, said he met with Farrow in August, and the two discussed ways they could bring “Catch and Kill” to the podcast medium. Instead of “churning it out” as a way get the podcast out with the book’s release, according to Linsky, they decided to invest more time and money in the project.
“This is the exact kind of show we want to be making and the type of podcast that can bring new audiences to the medium,” Linsky said.
“The Catch and Kill Podcast With Ronan Farrow” will be between five and 10 episodes, each running about 30 minutes apiece, Linsky said. It will be widely distributed on podcast platforms, including Entercom’s Radio.com.
Entercom, the No. 2 radio broadcaster in the U.S., acquired Pineapple Street earlier this year along with buying full control of podcast network and producer Cadence13. Other Pineapple Street productions have included true-crime show “The Clearing,” produced in association with Spotify’s Gimlet Media, “Running From Cops,” “Missing Richard Simmons” and “The Chernobyl Podcast” with HBO.
Farrow said he didn’t consider taking the podcast project to Crooked Media, the podcast company co-founded by Jon Lovett, a former Obama speechwriter who is Farrow’s partner. “The Crooked Media folks do great podcasts, but it’s very close to home,” Farrow said.
While he has been approached with multiple pitches for TV or film adaptations of “Catch and Kill,” Farrow said, he’s been focused on continuing to report the story and is not in active talks at this point on a television or movie deal.
“Catch and Kill” was published Oct. 15, and is also available in an audiobook format narrated by Farrow. In the book, Farrow makes a number of explosive claims. Those include that NBC News put the kibosh on his report of Weinstein’s history of alleged sexual assault, in part because of Weinstein’s ties to NBC News and NBCUniversal. Weinstein, according to Farrow, pressured NBC News to halt Farrow’s investigation by providing information on “Today” anchor Matt Lauer — who was fired in November 2017 over allegations of a pattern of sexual misconduct claims against the longtime anchor. The book includes details of the anal rape allegation against Lauer by former NBC News staffer Brooke Nevils that prompted his firing. Lauer has denied the allegation and called his relationship with Nevils “consensual.”
NBC News president Noah Oppenheim has disputed claims in Farrow’s “Catch and Kill,” including the allegation that NBC News execs were aware of charges about Lauer’s sexual misconduct prior to Lauer’s termination as well as the allegation and that Weinstein used info on Lauer to kill NBC News’ story. The news org has maintained that it could not proceed with Farrow’s report on Weinstein without having any accusers on the record.
According to Farrow, after being stymied at NBC News, he took his Weinstein reporting to The New Yorker and shared a 2018 Pulitzer Prize for public-service reporting with The New York Times, which also published an investigation into allegations made against Weinstein.