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'Serial,' The Podcast Obsession Of 2014, To Become A TV Show

When the “Serial” craze first got going last fall, one of the things you would hear from listeners trying to get you on board was that the podcast was as compelling as a TV show. And it was true: once you started listening, the thirst for new installments rivaled the thirst for new episodes of great shows like “The Good Wife” and “Game of Thrones.”

Looks like Hollywood (being Hollywood) isn’t willing to cede such compulsiveness to public radio. Deadline reported today that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller — the writing-and-directing duo behind comedic hits like “The Lego Movie” and “21 Jump Street” — are adapting “Serial” into a scripted TV series. Several of the podcast’s producers, including Season 1 host Sarah Koenig, “This American Life” host Ira Glass and “Serial” co-producer Julie Snyder, will be executive producers on the show.

“Chris and Phil take an unexpected approach to telling stories and that is so appealing to us at ‘Serial,'” Snyder said in a statement. “Developing a show with them is exciting because we feel like we speak the same language, only they’re smarter than us.”

There were rumors, for a while, that producers might adapt the content of “Serial” Season 1 — the murder of teenager Hae-Min Lee and the subsequent dubious conviction of her ex-boyfriend Adnan Syed — into a movie. But Lord and Miller’s show will take a different tack. It will focus, instead, on the making of the podcast. And it apparently won’t be about the original podcast’s first season. It’s not yet clear whether it will be based on some upcoming season — such as the upcoming one, reportedly on ex-POW Bowe Bergdahl — or a fictional season of their own devising.

A show about a group of podcast producers doesn’t sound all that exciting on the face of it. But Lord and Miller specialize in adapting unpromising material — schlocky ’80s TV shows, plotless children’s books, blocks — into thrilling narratives. So if anyone can do it, it’s them.

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