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Radio giant iHeartMedia is entering the scripted podcasting space with a new teen crime series that has comic book roots.
The media company has teamed up with Einhorn’s Epic Productions to develop Lethal Lit, a six-episode mystery podcast series.
Lethal Lit was co-created by EEP CEO Heather Einhorn and CCO Adam Staffaroni. Archie Comics co-president Alex Segura, who writes the comics The Archies and Archie Meets the Ramones, will pen the show along with fellow comic book writer Monica Gallagher.
The series will center on teen podcaster Tig Torres, who begins investigating a serial killer who struck her hometown 10 years before and staged each murder after famous scenes from classic literature.
Einhorn and Staffaroni will executive produce for EEP alongside Chris Peterson for iHeartMedia and Sandy Smallens for Audiation.
Peterson, who serves as senior vp podcasting at iHeartMedia, tells THR that the company is looking to attract young audiences with this story and introduce some of them to podcasting for the first time. “As soon as I heard the script, it was like, ‘Oh my god this is it,'” he says. “Something the podcasting space needs help with is diverse content, especially diverse content for different groups of listeners. I don’t know that there’s a lot of content especially in the scripted space for the target [demo] on this podcast.”
Per Peterson, iHeartMedia — which filed for bankruptcy earlier this year — now reaches about 250 million people per month through its broadcast radio stations, which is used to promote its hundreds of podcasts, many of which are produced by its local stations. This will be iHeartMedia’s first scripted podcast. “We’ve spent a lot of time building up our products so that the app has a better podcasting experience,” says Peterson. “It’s really about getting the content in front of [listeners].”
The pilot for Lethal Lit is currently in development and producers expect to begin casting for the series soon. iHeartMedia is targeting a fall launch.
“I’ve always had an affinity for badass lady detective stories,” Einhorn notes about the original concept for the show. “We’re especally excited about developing what we’re calling the next generation of heroic female franchises.”
Lethal Lit will join a growing number of scripted podcasts available for listeners, including Welcome to Night Vale, Two-Up Production’s Limetown and 36 Questions and Gimlet Media’s Homecoming and Sandra. Says Einhorn, “It’s where we can play and have a ton of fun innovating in this genre.”
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