Startup, the podcast that documented the beginnings of podcast production house Gimlet Media, has reached a new level of notoriety. TV show Alex, Inc. will air this fall on the ABC network. The TV show gets its namesake from main character Alex Schulman, who is based on Startup host and Gimlet Media cofounder Alex Blumberg.
Alex will be portrayed by Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State). The show’s cast also includes Tiya Sircar (Star Wars: Rebels), Michael Imperioli (The Sopranos), Elisha Henig, Audyssie James, and more.
Braff will also have a hand in the writing and production of Alex, Inc. The show’s first trailer definitely makes Alex, Inc. look more like a sitcom than a documentary series. Anyone familiar with Startup will recognize certain elements that have carried over to the TV show from the podcast. And of course, there are plenty of things in the trailer that have been embellished for the sake of comedic TV.
Major television networks (including ABC) are in the midst of their advertising upfronts for the Fall 2017 broadcast season. No word yet on how much interest has been generated by Alex, Inc. Regardless of the show’s potential success, it’s still a banner moment for podcasting to have a primetime TV show based on a podcast. Time will tell if Alex, Inc. sets off a trend or goes down as a novel idea.
It’s the latest indication that podcasting is moving closer to the mainstream. On the Friday, May 27th broadcast of long-running TV gameshow Jeopardy!, “Podcasts” was a featured category of questions.
For those who haven’t checked into Jeopardy! in awhile, the show pits super-smart people against each other in a match of whits that covers literature, history, pop culture, science… pretty much everything. Players select an item from a list of featured categories. Each item carries a dollar value. The higher the value, the more challenging the question. And actually, Jeopardy! questions aren’t really questions at all. They’re technically answers to questions, and players are prompted to respond in the form of a question.
Here’s the list of items in the “Podcasts” category:
- $200 item: One “Grammar Girl” podcast podcast dealt with homophones, homographs & this other similar-starting word. Correct response: What is homonym.
- $400 item: This network has a music podcast that’s called “All Songs Considered”. Correct response: What is NPR.
- $600 item: Karina Longworth talks old Hollywood on “You Must Remember This”, a line from this classic movie song. Correct response: What is “As Time Goes By”.
- $800 item: Elvis Costello & President Obama have been guests on “WTF”, this comedian’s podcast. Correct response: Who is Marc Maron?
- $1000 item: On this comedian’s “Experience” podcast, he interviews comics & does recaps of ultimate fighting events. Correct response: Who is Joe Rogan.
A video uploaded to Twitter by the official Jeopardy! account (tho strangely, the original tweet that contains the video has been deleted) shows four out of the five questions. Another tweet (which is still available) provides the last of the five questions.
Hat tip to Mignon Fogarty for providing Twitter links to the questions. And congratulations to Grammar Girl for being included on the show!
It might be somewhat of a stretch to cover Rabble in the context of podcasting. Indeed, Rabble isn’t really a podcasting service. But some podcasters may find it to be a useful addition to their media production toolkit.
Rabble is an audio-only live-streaming service that encourages users to create their own commentary on sporting events or TV shows. Do you think you and your friends can call the game better than the official announcers? Fire up a Rabble stream and encourage your audience to put the game on their TV’s, turn down the sound, and tune into your Rabble. Want to provide some (much-needed) comedy relief to a presidential debate or political hearing? Create a Rabble stream and let others listen to it alongside the official TV coverage.
There are a couple of caveats to keep in mind when using Rabble. The service expressly forbids its users from including any native audio or other sounds of events that are being covered. For example, you can’t use Rabble to add commentary to a TV show while also running that show’s audio thru your Rabble stream. You probably also wouldn’t want to use Rabble to provide commentary from the scene of a live event that has its own official coverage, because then you’d be competing with the media outlet that has the proper broadcasting rights.
Sports, political, and TV podcasters could really have some fun and possibly grow their listener bases with Rabble. If you’re a podcaster in any of these categories, you may want to give the service a try.