The talented, bespectacled people behind the widely popular podcast Serial and venerable radio program This American Life will expand their storytelling domain this March with the launch of a new production company and a podcast set in rural Alabama. S-Town, the first podcast to air under the new Serial Productions banner, will tell the story of real-life murder in a small Alabama town. Production for the new limited-run series began when a man contacted the producers of This American Life asking that its reporters investigate the son of a wealthy family who had allegedly been bragging about having gotten away with murder.
“This story takes so many unexpected turns,” says This American Life creator and host Ira Glass. “Every episode is a new surprise. And the story has this feeling and mood that’s different from anything else we’ve done. I don’t think people have heard a show like this.”
The available details of the series, however, might sound familiar to fans of the groundbreaking first season of Serial, which also held a number of surprises. Season one reinvestigated the 1999 murder of Baltimore high school student Hae Min Lee and the subsequent conviction of her ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed. Syed, currently serving a life sentence, has long maintained his innocence and was granted a retrial in June 2016. The second season of Serial told the story of Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. Army solider who was held captive by the Taliban for nearly five years. Unlike previous seasons of Serial, all episodes of S-Town will be released at the same time.
This American Life producer Brian Reed will host the show, and the editorial team includes Glass, Serial host and producer Sarah Koenig, and former This American Life producer Starlee Kine.