Universal Content Productions (UCP) has signed a multi-year first-look deal with iHeartMedia, Variety has learned exclusively. Under the deal, UCP will have the first right at adapting iHeartRadio’s original podcasts for television. Another part of the deal will give UCP’s new podcast platform, UCP Audio, the option to develop and co-produce original podcast series with the iHeartPodcast Network.
“Partnering with iHeart to not only adapt some of their enviable and extensive podcast library to television but also expand the production and reach of UCP Audio originals is giant leap in our platform building strategy,” said Dawn Olmstead, president of UCP. “We look forward to making waves in the podcast space this year and we are very excited to have iHeart joining us on our endeavor.”
The iHeartPodcast Network is home to more than 750 original podcasts, which cover topics such as business, sports, spirituality, technology, entertainment, family, comedy and true crime. iHeartMedia acquired “HowStuffWorks” in 2018 to producing an ongoing slate of new iHeartRadio Original shows like “The Ron Burgundy Podcast,” “Disgraceland,” “Chelsea Handler: Life will be the Death of Me,” “Noble Blood” and “Committed.” The iHeartPodcast Network also has popular radio show podcasts like “Bobbycast” and “The Breakfast Club.”
“UCP was among the first studios to recognize that podcasting was a goldmine of new IP for the TV and film industry,” said Conal Byrne, president of iHeartPodcast Network. “What’s really special about this deal is that you have the biggest podcast network, with our team of expert podcast developers and producers who have been working in this medium for over 10 years honing the craft of audio storytelling, partnering with LA’s powerhouse production studio to now create and develop premium TV and film properties out of podcast IP.”
UCP, part of NBCUniversal Content Studios, has found success in the past adapting podcasts for television, as they did with the Amazon drama series “Homecoming.” The studio is also currently developing shows based on podcasts like: “Slow Burn” starring Julia Roberts Julia Roberts, Sean Penn, Armie Hammer, and Joel Edgerton; “Dr. Death” starring Jamie Dornan, Alec Baldwin, Christian Slater; and “Joe Exotic” starring Kate McKinnon, among others.
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