The Astros-focused show will kick off a sports documentary podcast franchise from Cadence13.
The Houston Astros cheating scandal is getting the podcast and television treatment.
Podcast company Cadence13 is kicking off a new sports documentary podcast franchise with a season that will explore the Astros' World Series-winning 2017 season. Major League Baseball fined the Astros in January after a report uncovered that players used technology to communicate signs stolen from opposing teams.
To tell the Astros' story, Cadence13 has teamed with Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter, who will write and host the show, and Slow Burn co-creators Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons, who will produce via Neyfakh's Prologue Projects shingle. Cadence13 content chief Chris Corcoran and Underground Entertainment partner Steven Fisher will executive produce.
A TV series based on the podcast also is in development with Left/Right Productions, the producer of Epix's Slow Burn adaptation as well as Showtime's The Circus and FX's The Weekly. Reiter, Prologue Projects and Underground also are attached to the TV adaptation.
"The Astros of the 2010s were the most innovative organization in the history of sports," Reiter said in a statement. "As it turned out, the 'new way to win it all' involved factors that no one could have imagined — myself included. Cadence13, Prologue Projects, and Left/Right are the ideal partners with whom to reveal the full story of the Astros' exhilarating rise and shocking fall."
Added Neyfakh, "We have long wanted to apply our narrative approach to a story that's outside the world of politics. The Astros saga is the perfect place for us to start — in addition to being populated by amazing characters, it forces you to ask yourself hard questions about the meaning of fairness, cheating and secrecy."
The podcast, which is set to debut in summer 2020, will seek to reshape the public's understanding of the story. Reiter, who wrote abut the Astros for an SI cover story and in his book, Astroball: The New Way to Win It All, will look at the strategies and culture — sign stealing and all — that lifted the Astros from baseball's worst team to World Series champions in just a few years.
The currently untitled project will join a roster of Cadence13 shows that include docuseries Root of Evil, Gangster Capitalism and Long May They Run. "This is a story that everyone is talking about, and partnering with Ben and Leon to deep-dive on this scandal should give listeners the best insight and context possible," Corcoran said in a statement. "We are thrilled to expand Cadence13's powerful lineup of original documentary storytelling with this new franchise."
Joby Harold, whose writing credits include Awake, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, and Zack Snyder’s upcoming Army of the Dead, has been hired as the new writer of the untitled Obi-Wan Kenobi series on Disney+. Get the details below.
Variety has the news, reporting that Harold is taking over as the show’s writer after the show was shut down earlier this year. Drive screenwriter Hossein Amini turned in scripts, sets were built, staff were hired, and star Ewan McGregor was back on board…but Lucasfilm decided to pull the plug and start from scratch, throwing out Amini’s scripts and beginning the search for a new writer to come in and take over. That search, which at one time reportedly included The Mandalorian veterans Dave Filoni and Christopher Yost as options, is now over, as the studio has hired Joby Harold to get things back on track.
Harold is an unexpected choice for this job, since he’s arguably better known as a producer than a writer at this point. He’s produced or executive produced Edge of Tomorrow, Robin Hood, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, and the WGN America series Underground. On the writing side, he wrote and directed his first feature film, Awake, back in 2007, and a decade passed before his script for King Arthur: The Legend of the Sword was eventually produced. That film was supposed to launch a six-movie franchise, but didn’t perform well enough to even get a single sequel, let alone five. Army of the Dead is in post-production and he’s on board to write another Transformers project, but those are the only four writing credits listed.
More to come…
Julia Roberts is reuniting with Mr Robot creator Sam Esmail on another podcast adaptation as she is attached to star, alongside Sean Penn, Armie Hammer and Joel Edgerton, in a remake of Slate's Watergate audio series Slow Burn.
Roberts, who worked with Esmail on Amazon's Homecoming, will play Martha Mitchell, wife of Richard Nixon's Attorney General John Mitchell in Gaslit from UCP.
The NBCUniversal Content Studios division is taking out the project to premium and streaming platforms with talent attached in a similar fashion to the way it did with Dr Death, featuring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater, Dirty John, with Connie Britton, who was in negotiations, and Homecoming with Roberts. All of the above projects are based on podcasts, an important source of IP to the studio.
Robbie Pickering, who has worked on Mr Robot and Search Party, will serve as showrunner and executive produce along with Esmail and Chad Hamilton under their production banner Esmail Corp, via their overall deals with UCP. Roberts will executive produce under her banner Red Om Films along with co-executive producers Lisa Gillan and Marisa Yeres Gill. Anonymous Content and Slate's Gabriel Roth and Josh Levin will also executive produce. Leon Nayfakh, who created the podcast, will consult on the project.
Joel Edgerton and his brother Nash Edgerton, who has worked on Mr. Inbetween, will direct and executive produce the series.
The podcast, which launched in 2017, has already been turned into a six-part docuseries for Epix, produced by Left/Right.
Gaslit is a modern take on Watergate that focuses on the untold stories and forgotten characters of the scandal, from Nixon's bumbling, opportunistic subordinates, to the deranged zealots aiding and abetting their crimes, to the tragic whistleblowers who would eventually bring the whole rotten enterprise crashing down.
Roberts plays Martha Mitchell, a celebrity Arkansan socialite and wife to Nixon's loyal Attorney General, John Mitchell, who has a big personality and an even bigger mouth. Despite her party affiliation, she's the first person to publicly sound the alarm on Nixon's involvement in Watergate, causing both the Presidency and her personal life to unravel. Penn plays her husband John Mitchell. As Attorney General, Mitchell is Nixon's most trusted advisor and best friend. Temperamental, foulmouthed and ruthless – yet hopelessly in love with his famously outspoken wife – he’ll be forced to choose between Martha and the President.
Hammer plays John Dean, the young White House Counsel torn between his ambition and his struggle with whether he can lie to protect the President. Edgerton will play G. Gordon Liddy, Korean War veteran, former FBI agent and chief operative of Nixon’s...