'TV's Top 5': Inside the True Crime Wave With Apple's 'Truth Be Told' Boss

During this week's podcast, hosts Daniel Fienberg and Lesley Goldberg also discuss ViacomCBS and NBC's 'America's Got Talent' woes, among other topics.
Courtesy of Apple TV+; Paras Griffin/Getty Images for AppleTV+
Octavia Spencer in 'Truth Be Told' with showrunner Nichelle Tramble Spellman (inset)

Welcome to another episode of TV's Top 5, The Hollywood Reporter's TV podcast.

Every week, hosts Lesley Goldberg (West Coast TV editor) and Daniel Fienberg (chief TV critic) break down the week in TV news with context from the business and critical sides, welcome showrunners and executive guests and provide a critical guide of what to watch (or skip, as the case may be).

This week's five topics are:

1. Headlines. Since the show has been off since before Thanksgiving, this segment reviews the major headlines that happened over the Thanksgiving break — including major executive departures at Quibi and Cartoon Network — as well as a new wave of showrunner changes and cancellations that have happened over the past two weeks. Starts at the 1:28 mark.

2. America's Got Talent investigation. This segment explores the cultural issues happening behind the scenes of NBC's top-rated reality competition show that led to Gabrielle Union and Julianne Hough being dismissed after one season on the judges' table. The segment begins at the 8:50 mark.

3. ViacomCBS has officially closed. The re-merger brings together brands including Showtime, MTV and CBS All Access, among many others. This segment explores the why behind the deal and what it could mean for TV viewers. Starts at the 13:29 mark.

4. Showrunner Spotlight: Nichelle Tramble Spellman. The exec producer behind Apple TV+'s Octavia Spencer drama Truth Be Told joins the show this week to discuss her love of true crime tales, bringing a book about a podcaster to television and touches on her involvement with HBO's controversial (and scrapped) drama Confederate. Spellman also opens up about working with her writer-producer husband, Malcolm, and how their experience at upstart streamers (Apple and Disney+, respectively) compared. The interview begins at the 16:57 mark.

5. Critic's Corner. As always, every episode ends with Fienberg offering his thoughts about what to watch (or skip). This week, he touches on Michelle Wolf's Netflix stand-up special, the new season of Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Showtime's Work in Progress. (And come back next week when Maisel creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino join the show for a Showrunner Spotlight interview.) Tune in starting at the 44:42 mark.

Hear it all now on TV's Top 5. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. (Reviews welcome!) You can also email Goldberg and Fienberg with any topics or questions you'd like to be addressed in future episodes at TVsTop5@THR.com.

TV's Top 5 is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including Awards ChatterScott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; genre reporter Josh Wigler's Series Regular; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history; and Hollywood Remixed, hosted by Rebecca Ford and Rebecca Sun, which focuses on underrepresented or misrepresented stories and characters in Hollywood. Other podcasts are in the works.