Amazon Music and Wondery, the indie podcast studio Amazon snapped up last year, have assembled a diverse lineup of series in development for 2022 and beyond.
“This slate provides a lot of shows that are building on our past successes and driving into new areas,” Marshall Lewy, chief content officer for Wondery and Amazon Music.
Debuting later this month from Amazon Music is “The Lead: Starting Five,” a daily sports podcast from the creators of the award-winning podcast “The Lead” that will cover the five top sports stories in a 10-minute show. The longer-form “The Lead,” which covers one sports story in-depth in each episode, will now be released twice weekly.
The shift comes as Amazon Music took full ownership of “The Lead,” winding down its partnership with The Athletic, which previously co-produced the show. Earlier this year, the New York Times acquired The Athletic for $550 million.
Set to premiere Monday, May 23, “The Lead: Starting Five” will feature Tiffany Oshinsky (a co-host of “The Lead”) as among the rotating cast of four co-hosts. “We wanted to add a headline show for a long time,” Lewy said. “Short-form content is continuing to do well,” he added, noting that part of the format change is to deliver bite-size content that can be consumed on Amazon’s Echo family of smart speakers.
The new Amazon Music-Wondery slate, to be detailed at their IAB Podcast Upfronts presentation Thursday, also includes:
- “Persona: The French Deception”: An investigative series from reporter Evan Ratliff about one of the biggest international scams in the world — it’s “Catch Me If You Can” meets “The French Connection,” according to Lewy. It’s the second Amazon Music/Wondery co-production with Audacy’s Pineapple Street Studios; they previously teamed on “Will Be Wild,” about the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
- “Daphne”: Reuters reporter Stephen Grey investigates why a blogger was killed by a car bomb outside her house in Malta, breaking the peace of the beautiful holiday island. Grey uncovers the island’s secrets, realizing that everything is not what it seems about Malta’s elite society.
- “Fed Up”: A Wondery original hosted by Casey Wilson, this six-part series is an investigative story about what happens when a popular diet drives a massive online feud between two women.
- “Potato” and “Tepito”: Two co-productions with Sonoro, a leading Latinx podcast network. “Tepito” will feature notable LATAM talent and highlight local and regional stories. The Spanglish scripted drama “Potato,” set in Mexico City, stars Stephanie Sigman (“Spectre”) and Tenoch Huerta (“Narcos: Mexico,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”).
In addition, Wondery’s “Blood Ties” Season 3 starring Gillian Jacobs (“Community,” Netflix’s “Love”) will be coming to ad-supported platforms in August (after it launched on the Wondery+ subscription service on May 9). S3 also stars Christian Navarro (“13 Reasons Why”) and Peter Stormare (“Fargo,” “Prison Break”)
The show follows Eleonore Richland (Jacobs), who after exposing her father’s dark legacy vowed to clean up the family business – and hired her half-brother, Santino Reyes, to help her do it. In the third season, Eleonore reckons with what her father always taught her growing up: medicine is a bloody business. It’s the first Wondery show available in Dolby Atmos sound.
Lewy said “Blood Ties” is in development as an ongoing TV series, but has not yet sold it to a streaming partner.
Amazon Music closed its acquisition of Wondery in February 2021, a deal reportedly worth around $300 million. Wondery’s previous popular podcasts — several of which have been adapted as TV shows — include “Dr. Death,” “The Shrink Next Door,” “Even the Rich,” “American Scandal,” “Over My Dead Body,” “The Apology Line” and “Harsh Reality.”
Wondery-Amazon Music original podcasts are available on all major audio-streaming platforms. In addition, subscribers to the Wondery+ service get early access to select shows as well as ad-free listening.