For some listeners, the best part of the first season of Serial was getting a chance to hear about a true crime story without the stigma that comes from something like a Lifetime movie or the sensationalism of the local news. As a podcast, Serial was cool. It was hip. It wasn’t the usual hacky bullshit you see on TV or in movies. It’s hardly surprising, then, that movie and TV studios are reportedly falling over themselves to turn it into a TV show or a movie.
As we reported back in November, Serial’s producers said they had no interest in selling the movie rights—or even thinking about selling them—until the show’s final episode had aired. Now that it has, the bidding war has apparently begun. According to The Tracking Board, TriStar’s TV branch (which is apparently still a thing that exists) was one of the first to express interest, but a number of other studios quickly popped up in hopes of turning Serial into a movie. Warner Bros. is one such studio, and Tracking Board points out that it had a first-look deal with This American Life about 10 years ago, so the Serial team might be more willing to work with it than others.
Perhaps most interestingly, though, Tracking Board says that Ryan Murphy—yes, of Glee and American Horror Story fame—is “close to developing the property as a limited series for HBO.” However, Variety’s Pat Saperstein says the rights, “are not going to HBO/Ryan Murphy, at least not right now,” adding, simply, “just a rumor.” That’s probably for the best, anyway. “Ryan Murphy adapting Serial for HBO” just seems too perfectly crafted as an attention-grabber for it to be true.
Anyway, while studios fight amongst themselves over which one should get to turn the story of a reporter talking about a tragic murder into a movie that almost certainly will be a disservice to everyone involved in the actual story, we’d like to announce that the movie rights to The Serial Serial—The A.V. Club’s podcast about a podcast—are definitely available to anyone who wants them. Well, anyone who is obscenely wealthy and is willing to be very generous with casting choices. Basically, we’d all like to be played by Channing Tatum.