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HBO picks up My Dad Wrote a Porno live specials

His dad's porno is going premium cable.

As the premium cable channel winds down its racy late-night adult programming, it picks up an adult program of another kind. My Dad Wrote a Porno, the shaggy British comedy podcast that’s built strong followings both in the US and the UK, is heading to HBO as a live comedy special. The special will drop sometime in 2019. The podcast’s HBO pickup appears to be driven in some part by its strong performance on the live show circuit. “Its live shows, in which a special ‘lost chapter’ is read out in front of an audience, has toured the world over the past year, selling out in every destination,” the Hollywood Reporter noted.

We’ll explore this story a little further on Tuesday, but for now, I’d like to flag the aspect of this story that I continue to find endlessly interesting: HBO’s growing adventures with podcasts as source material. In February, the premium cable channel struck a deal with Crooked Media that’ll see the Obama bros produce four live specials in the run-up to the US midterm elections. Last month, the network renewed its live special arrangement with 2 Dope Queens — originally a WNYC Studios podcast production, in case you need reminding — for a second season due for 2019. And of course, there’s also the relationship that HBO has built with the prominent podcaster and sportswriter Bill Simmons, who has since developed two documentaries and a now-defunct weekly talk show for the channel.

Podcasts-as-IP is, by now, a fairly well-established trend, perhaps exemplified in the current moment by the television adaptation of Gimlet’s Homecoming that’s scheduled to hit Amazon Video later this year. (Have you noticed the endless trickle of incremental news on that production? Holy shit. I liked My Best Friend’s Wedding as much as the next person, but damn.)

But what’s particularly interesting about HBO’s position here is what it says about the live comedy specials market, especially as it becomes increasingly defined by Netflix’s overwhelming war-chest that sees the streaming platform deploy an all-consuming strategy stretching from high-end big-money deals (with comedians like Dave Chappelle and Amy Schumer) to breakout bets (like Hannah Gadsby and Ali Wong) to the entire universe of niches in-between. HBO, which recently began facing pressure to scale up (or, more generally, shift) its operations from its new corporate overlords, appears to be reshuffling its comedy/live show strategy in the face of all of this, and the ever-expanding world of podcasts appears to be a pretty good opportunity for the premium cabler to explore.

One imagines other TV entities will follow suit, at some point.