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Tracking: April 16, 2019

IP slingin’. Here’s something that will excite the pop culturati: Deadline reported last week that Hulu has ordered a limited series based on ABC’s Theranos podcast “The Dropout,” and it will star Kate McKinnon as Elizabeth Holmes.

If you, like me, can’t get enough of Theranos scam content (scamtent?), you probably know that there’s already a Theranos film in development by Adam McKay based on Bad Blood, the definitive nonfiction book by WSJ’s John Carreyrou, who broke the story. If you, like me, were wondering how IP stuff works in this scenario where multiple projects are being developed on the same real-world event, a veteran of the process explained to me: IP-selling is based on the generated media product — in this case ABC’s The Dropout and Carreyrou’s Bad Blood, packaged and sold as two separate competing properties.

You might ask, then: are there any IP protections, in general, for journalists who break a story? Alas, doesn’t seem like it.


  • ICYMI: 9to5Mac’s Guilherme Rambo confirmed the iOS developer Steve Troughton-Smith’s indication that Apple is, indeed, planning to break up iTunes and spin out standalone Music, Podcasts, and TV apps for desktop in the next macOS update. Also, the books app is getting a redesign. Also also, on a separate note: Apple Podcasts now supports web playback, along with a few other listening UX tweaks in the desktop experience.
  • The Peabody Award nominees were announced last week, and among the picks in the Radio/Podcast category were: APM Report’s In The Dark S2, NYT’s Caliphate and The Daily, MSNBC’s Bag Man, Radiotopia’s Ear Hustle, and Michigan Radio’s Believed. Notably, all of the picks were non-fiction narrative pieces. Winners will be announced on May 18.
  • From Billboard: “Amazon in Talks to Launch Ad-Supported Music Offering.”
  • Enjoyed this mini-profile of Joanna Robinson, one of my favourite culture writers, in SF Chronicle’s Datebook.
  • Looks like Crooked Media is looking to make a daily news podcast, and they’re on the hunt for a host. I dunno; isn’t Pod Save America near-daily anyway?
  • Transgenesis, a new sci-fi drama podcast from iHeartRadio that was due to start releasing episodes on April 15, has postponed release and is returning to work on the show some more after trans activists and allies on social media called out its central premise (which is concerned with hybrid humans and aquatic monsters known as “transgens” and “cisgens”) as transphobic.
  • Oh boy. From The Verge: “Eight months after YouTube banned Alex Jones, the far-right conspiracy theorist returned to YouTube to sit down with Logan Paul for a two-hour episode of his podcast Impaulsive… This marked the second time in a month that Jones was allowed to appear on a popular YouTube personality’s channel, following a four-hour appearance on Joe Rogan’s podcast in February.”

Release Notes

  • Looks like The Atlantic is starting to work on a new limited-run narrative podcast project, their first. It will be reported and hosted by Vann R. Newkirk, executive produced by Katherine Wells, and it’s set to examine the aftermath and response to Hurricane Katrina. Oh, and I hear they’re on the hunt for a full-time producer to work on it.
  • Some news from Stable Genius Productions, the shop started by WNYC alums Manoush Zomorodi and Jen Poyant: their show with Radiotopia, ZigZag, dropped its fourth season last week and they’re bringing back Note to Self behind the Luminary paywall in partnership with WNYC Studios.
  • Bloomberg News’ series on the gender pay gap, The Pay Check, returned for a second season last week, focusing its attention on how motherhood impacts the gap.
  • Everybody, truly, has a true crime podcast now, including Dr. Phil. That show is called Analysis of Murder by Dr. Phil, it’s developed in partnership with Stitcher, and it drops on April 25. Oh, and that’s separate from the more generalized podcast he’s doing, called Phil in the Blanks.