In 2014, the Serial podcast captured the zeitgeist, with season one scoring more than 68 million downloads and earning a 2015 Peabody Award. A spinoff of the radio program, This American Life, Serial was so successful that it has been confirmed for two more seasons, with the second season expected to be made available in 2015.
Of course, when something becomes this much of a phenomenon, Hollywood is sure to come calling and adapt it for the screen. Given that Serial deals with the captivating subject of true-life crime, there’s plenty of opportunities for someone to create an engrossing drama. And that’s now one step closer to happening thanks to the involvement of an unlikely pair.
THR is reporting that Phil Lord and Chris Miller have signed on to produce a television adaptation of Serial with Fox 21 Television Studios. Right now, details are being kept under wraps, but it has been revealed that the series will cover the making of the Serial podcast, and not the Adnan Syed murder case that served as the basis for that first season.
One refreshing note is that Lord and Miller pitched the idea themselves to Serial host Sarah Koenig, who in turn was intrigued by their idea. That element of the new series should be comforting for those who feared that this was just another industry cash grab. From the sound of it, the genesis of the Serial TV show is one of creativity and passion, so it will be interesting to see it come into fruition and what Lord and Miller have in store.
Koenig’s producing partner Julie Snyder addressed her excitement about working with Lord and Miller on the series:
“Chris and Phil take an unexpected approach to telling stories and that is so appealing to us at Serial. 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.”
The project will serve as a deviation for the duo, who have primarily worked in comedies (21 Jump Street, Last Man on Earth, etc.) throughout their careers; even their young Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film has been described as an action comedy. It’s hard to see how the overtly dramatic subject material of Serial (even if it’s just about how the podcast came to be) could be molded for laughs, so this represents a challenge of sorts for Lord and Miller. However, considering their track record thus far and their knack in spinning gold out of the oddest premises, there shouldn’t be too many people doubting their abilities to make this worthwhile.
Since the Serial TV show is so early in development, there’s no timetable for when it might air. The top priority now is to recruit a writing team so the program can be pitched to cable networks; meaning, there’s still a lot of work left to be done before a Serial adaptation becomes a reality. But with all the clout that’s behind this would-be series, it shouldn’t have any troubles locking down a creative team and home in the near future.
We’ll keep you updated on the Serial TV show as more information becomes available.