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Gimlet’s new podcast slate promises crime, psychological thrills, and controversy

(9 Views) November 1, 2016 9:10 am | Published by | No comment

Dov Charney

Dov Charney

American Apparel founder Dov Charney

The podcasting industry is on the cusp of breaking mainstream in a major way, according to Gimlet Media cofounder Matt Lieber.

And Lieber wants Gimlet to be one of the few big podcasting giants that rules the industry.

Gimlet’s new slate of podcasts, announced Tuesday, seems to reach for that mainstream buzz with controversy, crime, and psychological thrills.

Growth story 

Gimlet, a podcast-making company founded in 2014, has seen 25% year-over-year growth this year, Lieber tells Business Insider. “We’ve had our fastest year-over-year growth this year,” he continues.

Gimlet’s fall season adds three new shows to its (formerly) five-show roster, and features a fourth season of hit “StartUp,” which will follow American Apparel founder Dov Charney as he tries to start a new company after being ousted under dramatic circumstances in 2014.

The three new podcasts mark Gimlet’s entry into hot formats: a fictional psychological thriller, a true crime series from the creators of HBO’s hit “The Jinx,” and a show that re-examines historical moments. Compared to the quirky “Mystery Show,” which Gimlet declared “unsustainable” and recently canceled, these podcasts show an ear toward mass appeal.

The transition

We’re in the midst of a big transition in audio, Lieber says. Radio will slowly lose dominance to digital. Smartphones have pushed us toward the transition, but cars are helping radio hang on pretty tight, Lieber says. Eventually, however, on-demand audio will have a huge market — think of it like the on-demand video market that Netflix kick-started. In that world, there will be a big demand for podcasts.

That demand will lead to a handful of prominent podcast studios springing up, Liber says (as well as a bunch of independents). He thinks Gimlet is well-placed to be one. The company has used the $ 7.5 million in venture capital money it’s raised to build up a stable of well-respected shows, like “Reply All” and “StartUp,” as well as its own ad agency that creates custom audio ads and branded podcasts. The pieces are in place if podcasts continue to grow in popularity.

Lieber thinks now is the time. “[Podcasts are] becoming a mainstream phenomenon,” he says. Even Malcolm Gladwell is getting into the game.

And Gimlet’s new shows, which can go through an incubator process of up to a year, seem designed to get people’s attention.

Take the fourth season of “StartUp,” for example, which Lieber says he’s most excited for of the new slate. The show tracks Dov Charney from the inception moment of his new company, as he tries to “recapture the magic of American Apparel” (as Lieber describes it). Charney was ousted from American Apparel in 2014, by the board, which said the firing “grew out of an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct.” At American Apparel, Charney faced multiple accusations of sexual harassment, according to The Los Angeles Times.

Charney was described by Business Insider’s Jim Edwards as “infuriating, charming, arrogant.” Lieber calls Charney “controversial but compelling,” and says the show does not shy away from the accusations. “It’s not a celebration,” Lieber says.

But you can bet Charney will get people chattering around the internet.

Here are Gimlet’s full descriptions of the new fall season:

Undone (Premieres Monday, November 14)

“When big news happens, the world tunes in and then moves on. But often the stories we thought were over haven’t really ended. They were the beginning of something else. Undone is a new show from Gimlet Media that digs up the surprising things that happened when we weren’t looking.

The first, seven-episode season of Undone explores:

  • Disco Demolition Night, a crazy night in 1979 in Chicago, where a huge crowd of rock fans lit thousands of disco records on fire, leaving an indelible impression on America’s black and LGBTQ communities and the music they loved

  • A 20 year fight over the oldest skeleton ever found in North America — a battle that has raised big questions about who owns America’s history: science or the indigenous people who lived it

  • The Deacons for Defense and Justice, a group of black men who in 1965, armed themselves to face down the KKK in one of the worst Klantowns in the South

  • The world’s first computer dating company, started at Harvard in 1965, with a computer the size of a van

  • The story of a small Michigan town who unexpectedly found themselves fighting with the Department of Homeland Security over their neighbor and friend, Ibrahim Parlak, who looked like the perfect American immigrant, until DHS called him “the perfect terrorist package” and arrested him

Undone is hosted by Pat Waters and premieres Monday, November 14 from Gimlet.”

Homecoming (Premieres Wednesday, November 16)

“Homecoming is an groundbreaking new audio series from Gimlet Media, starring Academy Award-nominee Catherine Keener (Capote), Golden Globe-winner Oscar Isaac (Star Wars: The Force Awakens), and Emmy-nominee David Schwimmer (American Crime Story: The People Vs. OJ Simpson).

This six-episode psychological thriller centers on a caseworker (Keener) at an experimental facility, her ambitious supervisor (Schwimmer), and a soldier eager to rejoin civilian life (Isaac). Homecoming is told through an enigmatic collage of telephone calls, therapy sessions, and overheard conversations.  

Featuring a script by bestselling author Eli Horowitz (The Silent History, The Pickle Index) and Micah Bloomberg (Creative Control), coupled with intricate, textured sound design by Mark Phillips (Serial), Homecoming brings Gimlet’s award-winning audio storytelling into an entirely new realm.

Homecoming launches Wednesday, November 16 and continues for six weekly installments.”

Crimetown (Premieres Sunday, November 20)

“Welcome to Providence, Rhode Island, where organized crime corrupted an entire city and infected every aspect of public life. In their new podcast, the makers of The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, tell a story of alliances and betrayals, heists and stings, cops and mobsters, politicians and ex-cons. Actually, some of the politicians are ex-cons.

You’ll meet one of America’s most notorious mob bosses, Raymond Patriarca, who owned casinos in Vegas with Frank Sinatra and ran the New England mafia from a little vending machine company called the Coin-O-Matic. You’ll meet longtime Providence mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, who resigned from office after kidnapping and torturing his wife’s lover—only to run again and win by a landslide. And you’ll meet a host of other crooks, cops, politicians, and priests, all of whom battled for the soul of this city.

In Providence, it’s hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys. Crimetown premieres Sunday, November 20.”

StartUp Season 4 (Premieres Thursday, November 3)

“StartUp, Gimlet’s first podcast that originally chronicled the company’s founding, is back for a fourth season, this time following controversial and embattled entrepreneur Dov Charney of American Apparel infamy as he tries to start a new business.

Charney turned the retail industry on its head when he founded American Apparel in the 1980s, ultimately reinventing the way basic t-shirts were designed, manufactured, marketed, and sold. Startup is along for the ride as Charney starts again from scratch and tries to recreate magic, hoping that he can, once again, disrupt the retail industry with his new company, Los Angeles Apparel.

StartUp returns for its fourth season on Thursday, November 3rd.”

The post Gimlet’s new podcast slate promises crime, psychological thrills, and controversy appeared first on Business Insider.

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