'Missing Richard Simmons' Podcast Could Be Adapted for TV

Sources say that First Look Media has begun meeting with would-be buyers for a small screen narrative adaptation of the investigative show searching for the reclusive fitness guru (who dropped out of sight in 2014).
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Richard Simmons

Since its debut on Feb. 15, Missing Richard Simmons has become the most buzzed-about podcast since Serial. Now, the makers of the mystery/biography hybrid are shopping it as potential source material for a TV series.

Topic, the newly branded studio arm of First Look Media, has begun meeting with would-be buyers about a small-screen version of the hunt for the reclusive fitness guru, who dropped off the radar in February 2014, prompting friend and former Daily Show producer Dan Taberski to pursue the story behind his disappearance.

The studio declined comment, but in an interview with THR last month, First Look president Michael Bloom said it was exploring the podcast for other mediums. “Richard Simmons could have been a lot of things, but it started as a podcast. It turns out it could be a really nice expression in long form,” he said.

But the Simmons narrative might be taking a new twist in the wake of the podcast’s success. Simmons’ longtime manager Michael Catalano has hinted that the self-help maestro (who recently graced the cover of People magazine but didn’t participate in an interview) might be ready to emerge from self-imposed exile. Now that could be a compelling season two.

A version of this story first appeared in the April 13 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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