Phil Lord, Christopher Miller to Adapt 'Serial' Podcast for TV

Sarah Koenig and her 'This American Life' team will serve as producers on the Fox 21 TV Studios scripted cable series.
Eric Charbonneau/Invision for Sony Pictures/AP Images
Chris Miller and Phil Lord

Serial is making its hotly-anticipated leap to TV.

Writer-director-producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, along with Homeland's home, Fox 21 Television Studios, have optioned the rights to the podcast that famously captured the zeitgeist this past fall. Though details are being closely guarded, the plan is to create a cable series based on the experience of making the hugely successful podcast. It will not follow the Adnan Syed case that host Sarah Koenig chronicled week to week.

Koenig and her producers at This American Life sparked to the pitch by Lord and Miller, who have moved fluidly and successfully between genres in recent years with Last Man On Earth, The Lego Movie and the upcoming Star Wars Hans Solo film, among others. The team will begin pitching the project to cable networks once a writer or team of writers is in place.

"From the very first week of Serial’s release last fall, everyone at Fox 21 TVS was obsessed with the podcast. One year later, thanks to the incredible passion of Chris and Phil, who flew to New York and shared their vision with Sarah, Julie [Snyder], Alissa [Shipp] and Ira [Glass] for what the series could be, we’re moving forward on this exciting project," said Fox 21 TV Studios president Bert Salke, who is already collaborating with the This American Life team on another project. "What you have here is a 'once every ten years creative storytelling phenom' with a 'once in ten years take' with a 'once in twenty-five years creative team.' We are confident we’ll attract a spectacular writer and look forward to pitching it to outlets very soon."

Added Serial’s Snyder, "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."

In addition to Lord and Miller, Koenig, Snyder, Shipp, Glass and Seth Cohen will serve as executive producers on the Fox 21 TV Studios project. The news comes a week after reports that a second season of the podcast series will center on the case of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Army soldier who went missing while deployed in Afghanistan and was held prisoner by the Taliban. The latter is being co-produced by Mark Boal’s Page One production company.

Lord and Miller are repped by UTA and Ziffren Brittenham; Koenig, Snyder, Shipp and Glass are at UTA and Lichter Grossman.



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