In the Race for Content, Hollywood Is Buying Up Hit Podcasts

Mindful of the trend, Gimlet hired Jenny Wall, a former Hulu and Netflix executive, as chief marketing officer, to help the company better navigate Hollywood. “We created an I.P. factory,” Matt Lieber, the president of Gimlet, said. “We generate a lot of stories.”

Among other shows it has in the works, Gimlet has teamed with Blumhouse Television, an arm of the company that made the film “Get Out,” to create a TV version of its limited-run horror podcast, “The Horror of Dolores Roach.”

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“Gladiator,” a podcast made by Wondery and The Boston Globe’s Spotlight investigative team focused on the NFL player Aaron Hernandez, who committed suicide after being convicted of murder, is in development at FX. Other Wondery shows in the works for TV are “Dr. Death,” about a neurosurgeon accused of malpractice, and “Business Wars,” a series centered on corporate rivalries. Janet Leahy, a “Mad Men” writer, has written the “Business Wars” pilot.

Facebook Watch has ordered 10 episodes of “Limetown,” based on a fictional podcast about the disappearance of 300 people at a research facility in Tennessee. Jessica Biel has signed on as an executive producer and lead actor, and the podcast’s creators, Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie, are on board as the show’s writers.

“Welcome to Night Vale,” the long-running podcast (and book series) created by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor in 2012, is in development at FX. Gennifer Hutchison, the executive producer of “Better Call Saul,” is in charge, and Sony Pictures Television is a producing partner.

The director and producer Sam Raimi is part of the team aiming to make a TV series out of “Tanis,” a fictional horror podcast created by Terry Miles. That one is being produced by Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. The same two companies are at work on an adaptation of “The Bright Sessions,” a sci-fi podcast created by Lauren Shippen. Ms. Shippen and Gabrielle G. Stanton, an alumna of “Grey’s Anatomy,” are writing it.

Not every podcast survives the move from the intimacy of audio to the brighter, broader medium of television. The ABC sitcom “Alex, Inc.,” based on the Gimlet podcast “Start Up,” lasted all of 10 episodes. But in a time of expansion, with demand outstripping supply, executives at podcast companies know they have something the entertainment industry needs.

“We’ve prepared most of the meal,” said Mr. Lieber, of Gimlet. “Now you just have to put it on the table and eat.”


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