The day might be near when it will be news if an upcoming TV series doesn’t have a podcast to go along with it. For now, add Nat Geo’s “The Hot Zone” to the growing list of series enlisting some audio companionship. The story, which tells of Lt. Col. Nancy Jaax’s (Julianna Margulies) efforts to contain the Ebola virus after its first appearance on American soil, also will be addressed in “American Epidemics,” a Wondery audio series produced in conjunction with the TV show.
Lindsay Graham, the podcast host behind “American History Tellers” and the presidential-themed fiction series “Terms” and “1865,” will head up this new series, which will span three episodes. The second episode of “American Epidemics” will focus on the production of “The Hot Zone,” featuring interviews with Margulies and showrunners Kelly Sounders and Brian Peterson.
“American Epidemics” premieres May 10, with new episodes debuting every Friday. It will be the latest addition to an expansive Wondery lineup that also has the 2017 breakout hit “Dirty John,” Mark Ramsey’s ongoing “Inside” series (which has profiled the histories behind “Psycho,” “The Exorcist,” “Jaws,” and will next tackle “Star Wars”), and a number of true crime offerings including “Dr. Death” and last year’s “Gladiator,” a Boston Globe co-production that covered the life, conviction, and death of former NFL player Aaron Hernandez.
The third installment of “American Epidemics” will include a conversation with Jaax herself about the incident (and subsequent successful containment push) featured in Richard Preston’s 1994 nonfiction bestseller. That book, in turn, inspired the series, created by James V. Hart and developed by Sounders, Peterson, and Jeff Vintar. Following the conclusion of the podcast series, “The Hot Zone” will debut the following week on May 27. In addition to Margulies, the series also stars Noah Emmerich, Liam Cunningham, Topher Grace, and Paul James.
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“The Hot Zone” is the first to get the podcast treatment, but the show follows in the footsteps of past Nat Geo limited series like January’s Silicon Valley-centered “Valley of the Boom,” the futurist/space exploration hybrid “Mars,” the Iraq War drama “The Long Road Home,” and multiple installments of the biography anthology series “Genius.”