Novel, a London-based podcast studio, is casting its sights on the U.S. podcast marketplace. It has partnered with iHeartMedia to produce a slate of iHeartRadio Original podcasts that will lead to the release of eleven new docuseries during the next three years. The common thread among the shows is they will focus on “stranger-than-fiction” true stories.
"We're thrilled to be entering into such an exciting partnership with iHeartMedia,” said Novel CEO Sean Glynn in the announcement. “Pairing Novel's best-in-class storytelling credentials with iHeartMedia's excellent editorial judgment and global distribution is an incredibly compelling combination,” he said.
Among the first podcasts to be released will be Deliver Us From Ervil. The show is an investigative true-crime series in which a team of journalists enters a lawless town on the border of Mexico run by a secretive religious sect living in exile and outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. government since 1924. They will speak to the inhabitants of this strange town and uncover the secrets behind the surreal desert fortress with a murderous past that continues to haunt all who enter.
The partnership will also kickoff with a podcast titled The Assault on America that aims to tell the inside story of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Working with open-source investigative journalists Bellingcat, Novel painstakingly collected thousands of hours of smartphone footage, including 1,200 videos that directly incriminate protestors. Much of this exclusive material has since been deleted from the web but has been preserved by Bellingcat. Another new podcast will be about real-life superheroes appearing at Black Lives Matter protests.
“This new partnership will allow us to produce deeply researched, narratively rich investigative series at scale that grip listeners right off the bat,” added Max O’Brien, Head of Content at Novel.
The iHeart-Novel alliance marks the first time iHeartMedia has signed with a U.K.-based podcast company to produce a slate of shows. Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network, noted in the announcement that Novel “has a penchant for producing award-winning docuseries” and he is looking forward to seeing what their partnership will produce. “We’re eager to collaborate with the brilliant minds at Novel to bring listeners an incredible new lineup of history, true-crime and documentary podcasts,” said Byrne.