Local fans of the hit podcast “Serial” as well as the “This American Life” series will have something to perk up their ears as a new production from the team behind both of these broadcasts is hitting the web with an Alabama town at the center of intrigue.
“The concept for the series came about when a man reached out to ‘This American Life’ bitterly complaining about his small Alabama town. He wanted a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who had allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder,” said Kevin Broderick, spokesman for the series.
Producers were cagey about announcing exactly where “S-Town” takes place, trying to keep things a secret until the show became public March 28. But Broderick was able to say it is centered in a rural town in Bibb County, Alabama.
“Longtime ‘This American Life’ producer Brian Reed spent a significant amount of time in Alabama reporting this story. As he reported, someone in the scope of the narrative ended up dead and another story began to unfold — about a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure and the mysteries of one man’s life,” Broderick said.
The first episode centered on the murder investigation and its outcome, while the second episode will feature a “big reveal” at its end. There are seven episodes in the “S-Town” series.
The new podcast is the first series from Serial Productions, a newly formed podcast production company headed by Julie Snyder, Sarah Koenig and Ira Glass. Koenig hosted the initial “Serial” production that investigated the 1999 murder of an 18-year-old Baltimore, Maryland, high school girl. The series was a smash hit, downloaded more than 80 million times. It also won a Peabody Award in 2015.
“‘S-Town’ is totally different from anything I’ve heard before,” said executive producer Snyder. “Since we first announced the series, I’ve seen a lot of speculation that we’re doing a ‘true crime’ show, but I don’t think that does ‘S-Town’ justice. It’s just a story that goes beyond any expectations.”
“S-Town” is hosted by “This American Life” producer Reed, who spent more than three years investigating and reporting on the story.
Those interested in downloading “S-Town” can go to stownpodcast.org. It is also available on iTunes and Stitcher.