Endemol Shine North America Moves Into Podcasting Via Deal With ‘The Piketon Massacre’ Producer KT Studios

EXCLUSIVE: Endemol Shine North America, the company behind big-ticket non-scripted formats such as MasterChef and Lego Masters, is moving into podcasting for the first time with a partnership with KT Studios, the company behind hit audio series The Piketon Massacre.

The Banijay-backed producer and KT Studios, which also makes Peacock/Oxygen docuseries Murdered and Missing in Montana, will develop and co-produce original podcasts.

These will be based on existing Endemol Shine formats as well as new properties.

One of the shows that Endemol Shine has identified is Nashville Star, the country music talent format that aired on NBC/USA Network between 2003 and 2008. The show is widely credited with launching the careers of the likes of Miranda Lambert and Kacey Musgraves.

Sharon Levy, Chief Content Officer, Endemol Shine North America, told Deadline, “Songwriting and performance is something that hasn’t been cracked in the podcast space and that’s one of our favorite shows. We’re always talking about what to do with Nashville Star. It’s something we love that could be slightly more interesting in the podcast form.”

A podcast based on Nashville Star would be something of a homecoming for KT Studios CEO Stephanie Lydecker, who was a supervising producer on the final season of the TV series.

Levy added that the company is also looking to “breakthrough the clutter” and crack shows based on its existing shows, which include upcoming series such as Disney+’s Foodtastic and Peacock dating format Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance.

“We’re trying to figure out a way to take some of these giant legacy formats that we have and revitalize them through a podcast journey,” she added. “We are this global company with a million great formats and some of them just need to be rethought in a new way. Is it possible that we can conceive them for a podcast audience using Stephanie and her team’s expertise and then eventually bring it back to TV or just live and be fantastic in podcast form.”

The two companies are also looking to originate new ideas in the true crime, relationships, music, food and female-centric genres. There is already a true-crime project in the works. “We can co-develop a story together and then we can bring it back with an eye towards scripted if it works and catches on,” Levy said.

KT Studios broke through in the podcasting space with The Piketon Massacre, which has had nearly 20M impressions, that told the story of the most notorious mass murder in Ohio history with four crime scenes, 32 gunshot wounds and eight members of the Rhoden family dead. Lydecker told Deadline that it also was prepping a scripted adaptation of the podcast.

The company’s audio slate includes The Dougherty Gang, the true story of AK-47 wielding bank robbing siblings, The Masked Singer companion podcast and upcoming titles such as Crazy in Love and Death Island

Lydecker told Deadline, “The quarantine and the pandemic shaped the game and made things very different so we got into the podcast business quickly and now it’s a huge leg of our [company].”

“We’re craving different ways of getting content and the outreach for the podcast world is undeniable,” she added. “Being able to rethink how we can approach a slate that is audio only with the powerhouse names that [Endemol Shine North America] has, seems like the perfect supermash. Collaboration is the key ingredient.”

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