EXCLUSIVE: True crime remains one of the bedrocks of the podcasting world.
James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman, hosts of popular audio series Small Town Murder and Crime in Sports, are doubling down on the genre and extending into new areas with the launch of Upside Down Digital Network.
The pair have teamed up with Art19, the Amazon-owned podcasting hosting and advertising firm that is involved in shows such as Late Night With Seth Meyers Podcast and Oxygen’s Martinis and Murder, to launch the podcast network. UTA brokered the deal.
The network will feature true crime and comedy podcasts, and will also venture into organized crime, personal narrative, interview-style, and serial/episodic shows. Art19 will facilitate advertising for the new shows.
Podcasts in development include Game of Crimes and Life After Happy Face.
Game of Crimes is hosted by state trooper and detective Morgan Wright and Drug Enforcement Administration agent Steve Murphy, who is played by Boyd Holbrook in Netflix’s Narcos. The pair will discuss some of the most notorious cases from those who broke the law and those who were sworn to enforce it. Murphy and Morgan ask the questions and get into the true stories from the real-life players in the biggest game of all – the Game of Crimes.
Life After Happy Face is led by Melissa Moore, the daughter of the infamous Happy Face serial killer, and leading female Forensic Criminologist, Dr. Laura Pettler. They will unearth chilling details from homicide case files in this weekly true-crime series which tells the actual stories of people who shared their lives with a killer or their victims.
The move comes as Pietragallo and Whisman are set to head out on their Shut Up and Give Me Murder tour – live touring is one of the most popular ancillary revenues for podcasters – which has sold out across 24 cities.
“At Upside Down Digital Network, we’ll foster creativity and showcase the most riveting people and stories as we bring the highest quality shows to this ever-expanding medium,” said Whisman. “I’m proud of the hard work that this team has put in to create something different — not just for our audience, but also for creatively unique podcasters.”
Pietragallo added, “We believe in putting out shows that we want to hear; and it is our hope that other people think they’re as interesting as we do. If we wouldn’t want to listen, how could we expect anyone else to? That said, we couldn’t be more excited for the first two podcasts on our roster.”
“I’m thrilled that James and Jimmie are expanding their empire,” said Shelby Schenkman, UTA Emerging Platforms. “Their momentum in the true crime space is astounding and the addition of compelling projects across new genres will be the catalyst for continued success.
Small Town Murder, Crime in Sports, Pietragallo and Whisman and the Upside Down Digital Network are represented by UTA.
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