EXCLUSIVE: The first-look deal is a commonplace occurrence in the world of television and film.
Such agreements are now coming to the podcasting business as Campside Media, the company behind the successful Chameleon franchise, has struck a trio of deals.
The business has closed deals with Believe Her creator Justine van der Leun, Sam Mullins, who is behind Wild Boys and Dr. Dante, and Sean Flynn, the man behing The Bering.
It marks a shift in direction for the relatively nascent audio medium, giving a podcast studio such as Campside a first look at projects that may have previously been shopped around, and giving creators an element of stability that hasn’t traditionally been present in podcasting.
Campside, which was established by long-form journalists Josh Dean, Vanessa Grigoriadias, Matt Shaer, and screenwriter/producer Adam Hoff in partnership with Chernobyl producer Sister, has produced nearly 30 shows over the last couple of years and has around 20 projects in development for film and television.
Hoff, Campside’s CEO, said, “This is a true win-win situation, because we’re giving talented artists a home and, in return, we ensure that Campside gets first crack at the incredible ideas they are taking into the marketplace. It also ensures we get to keep working with people we love, admire, and respect a great deal.”
Leun was responsible for the 2022 Podcast Academy Awards-nominated series Believe Her, which explores the story of Nikki Addimando, who was abused but went from being viewed as a victim to a cold blooded killer when she shot and killed her partner in 2017. It was produced by Lemonada Media.
She is working closely with Matt Shaer as the pair were both New America Fellows and is prepping a follow up series that is described as a “twisty, meta thrill ride that picks up where Believe Her left off”.
“I was looking for a creative home for my audio projects that offered not just a strong track record, but also a habit of magnifying stories that illuminate the human condition, and doing so with journalistic skill, empathy, and integrity,” said van der Leun.
“Believe Her was one of the rare podcasts that you will never forget once you have heard it. The work Justine is doing is not only incredibly important, it is propulsive and something you simply can’t put down once you’ve started,” Shaer added.
Mullins, meanwhile, has already made two shows with Campside; Wild Boys, which came out as season three of the Chameleon franchise, and Dr. Dante, which was the fifth iteration of the strand.
“It’s been such an unbelievable thrill to see this show resonate with so many listeners,” said Mullins.
Josh Dean added, “Wild Boys was about Sam’s hometown and events he remembers from his own life, then Dr. Dante was about a man he had never met, so it’s safe to say he can do it all. People will not believe what he has in store next.”
Finally, Flynn is described as “almost like the fifth founder of Campside”. His Audible Original series The Bering, which tells the story of a crew aboard Alaskan fishing boat nicknamed The Danger Ranger, helped sell Campside’s first slate of shows.
“It was right there in our original pitch deck,” said Hoff, “but we never could have dreamed it would turn out like it did. I’ve never heard another podcast quite like it, before or since.”
Flynn’s second show, Friendly Fire, which explores the death of an officer in Scott County, Tennessee, was the first series as part of Sony Music’s subscription channel The Binge. Both of his series are in development for television.
He is currently working on a new series described as “the saga of a double life and love affair that crosses continents, lasts 30 years, and definitely will make you cry at the end”.
“Campside put together an amazing team of producers and sound designers to help bring these stories to life — and to teach me how to do it well. I’ve always loved reporting and telling great stories, but this format, with these people, is the most fun I’ve had in years,” Flynn added.
“Honestly, we started Campside to make a place that was a home for artists, run by artists. It’s one of the great thrills of this whole adventure to be able to ink creators of this caliber to deals that were once reserved only for giant film and television studios,” added Campside co-founder Vanessa Grigoriadis.
Campside is represented by UTA.
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.