As TV continues to search for new ways to grab audiences and to bring beloved projects to the small screen, podcasts have become a go-to for fresh series.
Some shows have already become mainstays, while there are plenty more on the horizon. Here’s an overview of the new, upcoming, and streamable TV shows that got their start as a podcast.
(For more of our picks of what podcasts have to offer, see our roundup of the best podcast episodes of the year so far here.)
The original flagship Gimlet Media show became the first to get the TV treatment, but not without an unexpected change. Before going on to “StartUp,” the podcast first documented Alex Blumberg’s to start his own podcast company, from coming up with the name to seeking investors. Rather than keep the documentary approach, the ABC version of this story looks to be more of a family comedy. We’ll know next year whether it lives up to its predecessor.
Name the first comedian that pops into your brain and it’s a good bet they’ve made an appearance on “Comedy Bang! Bang!” Maybe it’s host Scott Aukerman, who’s led the podcast back since its days as the live Comedy Death Ray show. Maybe it’s one of the show’s multiple musical sidekicks (theme song composer Reggie Watts, Kid Cudi, or Weird Al Yankovic). It might also be one of the comedians whose characters also made the jump from the podcast to the show (Bobby Moynihan’s Fourvel, Seth Morris’ Bob Ducca, or superguest Paul F. Tompkins’ take on the Cake Boss). The TV version may be no more, but the weekly jaunts into comedy insanity will continue on in our feeds and our hearts.
One of the best shows in late night partly came from Desus Nice and The Kid Mero’s “Bodega Boys,” which has been released weekly since fall 2015. As the two comedians respond in real time to big headlines, weird news clips, and in-studio guests via a “PTI”-style rundown, it’s a simple formula that works no matter whether you’re listening or watching.
Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson’s weekly WNYC show is headed to HBO in 2018 for a series of four one-hour specials. Williams and Robinson are currently in the middle of the fourth season of their WYNC podcast, where they talk to guests and each other about the pressing issues of the day, both personal and beyond. They’re actresses, comedians, and friends (who’ll now be on premium cable a few more times next year).
“Homecoming” was one of the first fiction podcasts to hop into the mainstream, with an all-star cast including Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener, and David Schwimmer. As an encore, Sam Esmail is bringing the Gimlet show to Amazon with Julia Roberts as the lead, playing a character similarly tracking the aftermath of a long-gestating military experiment. Two TV seasons have already been greenlit, with the first expected sometime next year.
Aaron Mahnke’s horror anthology podcast continues to draw on unsettling myths from different corners of history. While the first batch of episodes translating those tales to the screen may have been less than successful, there’s plenty of room left to explore in this format if Amazon can scare up a second season.
“Maron” was less a “WTF” adaptation and more of a reworking of the public persona that its host has had for decades. Playing a fictionalized version of himself, Maron tackled relationships, joke thievery, weird press tours, and the pitfalls of having your own talk show. After four seasons of doing it on TV, Maron is back to tackling a lot of those same issues on “WTF,” while he’s set to be back on screen again when “GLOW” comes back for a second run next year.
The McElroy crew are at the center of a burgeoning podcast empire all their own. In addition to “My Brother, My Brother & Me,” the show that made TV transition to Seeso back in February (and now lives on VRV), Justin, Travis, and Griffin now have a network of shows about everything from medical misadventures, positive fandoms, and “Paul Blart Mall Cop 2.”
It’s kind of an incredible achievement that This American Life is still the public radio juggernaut it’s always been, even a decade after this TV show first hit the air. Admittedly, including it here is a tiny bit of a stretch, given that the show long predates the invention of the word “podcast.” But it’s still fascinating to go back and see a pay-cable approach to a radio staple.
One of the more seasoned podcasts in this collection, “Throwing Shade” has seen Erin Gibson and Bryan Safi discuss headlines, pop culture, and timely women’s and LGBT issues since 2011. The two brought the talk format to TV Land earlier this year. A recent cancellation left the show without a TV home, but the podcast is currently enjoying a continued run as a new member of the Earwolf network.
Lauren Shippen’s fiction series based around therapy sessions with teenagers who have special superabilities was one of the most pleasant podcast surprises of the past few years. The TV adaptation is currently in the works with Shippen and “Ugly Betty”/”Grey’s Anatomy” writer/producer Gabrielle Stanton working on the script.
It’s safe to say that “Crimetown” hosts Marc Smerling and Zac Stuart-Pontier have some TV experience, as they’re two of the members of the creative team behind HBO’s “The Jinx.” Recently, it was announced that the two will be bringing their in-depth dive into the political and organized crime world of Providence, Rhode Island. Regardless of the show’s ultimate fate at FX, Season 2 of the podcast is currently in the works, as well.
A year after the show accelerated the podcast boom and shot to momentary pop culture hegemony, Phil Lord and Chris Miller announced that they had optioned the TV rights for show. Now that 2017 has come and gone with plenty of twists and turns on each side of this creative equation, the project hasn’t come to fruition. (No word yet if “S-Town” has had any similar deal.)
An aggressive look at true crime stories, Mike Boudet’s “Sword and Scale” runs the gamut of the darker side of the real stories that have quickly become podcast obsessions. (In case you doubt the shows commitment to a cross-section of brutal killings, episodes are sorted by categories like “Mass Murder,” “Torture,” and “Manslaughter” on the show’s website). A relatively recent option deal, “Sword and Scale” is being aimed at a cable home.
What began as a twice-a-month serialized dive into the enigmatic mystery of Tanis evolved to a metafictional exploration of how stories mutate online. Creator Terry Miles is set to co-helm the adaptation, with Sam Raimi producing.
Season 1 of Payne Lindsey’s missing person investigation series was enough to get it into the optioned-for-TV club. Part of the same deal that snagged “Sword and Scale,” the recent deal came with the expectation that an adaptation would be geared toward a streaming service.
FX has grown its podcast-to-TV stable by picking up the rights to Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s long-running series. With years worth of bi-weekly check-ins and a pair of tie-in novels chronicling Night Vale’s various comings and goings (and two more books on the way), there’s certainly plenty of material to cover. “Better Call Saul” EP Gennifer Hutchison is on board to adapt the series.