Amazon’s Audible, The Man in the High Castle producer Big Light Productions and journalist consortium Vespucci and have partnered to develop and produce a series of fiction and non-fiction Audible Original podcasts covering or inspired by real crime events.
Producer and writer, Frank Spotnitz (Leonardo, The X-Files, Medici) will serve as creative lead across the development slate and executive produce alongside Big Light Productions’ Emily Feller (Medici, Last Tango in Halifax) while Vespucci will provide stories via its consortium of journalists.
Two original series are already greenlit for delivery, the first planned to launch on Audible later in 2021. The first is a scripted drama, Mask of Sanity, starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Game of Thrones) who will co-produce under his Ill Kippers Productions banner, with partner, co-founder and series writer, Joe Derrick. Ill Kippers’ Vice President, Jeffrey Chassen will also serve as co-producer.
Based on a true story by Bulgarian journalist, Dimiter Kenarov, Mask of Sanity follows the story of a journalist reporting on a serial killer, but with a secret of his own.
Also underway is Killer Book Club, a documentary true crime thriller exploring the much-covered case of British private school teacher and novelist Peter Farquhar who was murdered by church warden Benjamin Field, his much younger lover and former student. The series is created by Gillian Pachter (The Ruth Ellis Files: A Very British Crime Story) and Julia Nottingham (XY Chelsea) and her production company Dorothy St Pictures.
A number of further scripted and unscripted series are also in development as part of the overall deal.
This collaboration marks the first time Big Light Productions has ventured into podcasts.
Prior to collaborating with Audible, Vespucci has formed podcast partnerships with Spotify, Cadence13, Topic Studios, Blumhouse and Imperative Entertainment. Peter Sale, Vespucci’s Head of Podcasts, will oversee the podcast productions, alongside Matt Willis and Thomas Curry.
Big Light Productions’ Executive Producers Frank Spotnitz and Emily Feller said; “It’s so exciting for Big Light to be taking this step into podcasts. With writers being central to the process, we love creating big stories with complex characters, and our partnership with Audible and Vespucci allows us to explore a different way of telling them. There is a huge amount of rich material to be mined both through our original fiction podcasts as well as non-scripted projects. And with some incredible talent lined up, these are already shaping up to be gripping listening. Being huge podcasts fans ourselves, we can’t wait!”
Aurelie De Troyer, Senior Vice President of Content at Audible, said: “We are thrilled to be a part of this unique collaborative partnership with Vespucci and Big Light. Vespucci’s close ties with the journalistic community, and the world-class storytelling expertise of Frank Spotnitz and the team at Big Light will create timely, true stories with depth and relevance – a huge opportunity for us in both factual and scripted podcasts as consumer interest in innovative and engaging audio content continues to grow.
Vespucci’s Co-Founders, Daniel Turcan and Johnny Galvin said in a joint statement; “At Vespucci,
WME brokered the deal on behalf of Vespucci with Audible’s Tom Guest, Ben Chapman and Lydia Shamah.