With narrative podcasting on the rise over the last couple of years, it’s no surprise, really, that television executives have begun looking at the medium as a resource for new shows. In fact, podcasting network Gimlet has been very open about the business model of licensing IP to movies and networks.
If there is a surprise in all of this, it’s that Welcome to Night Vale didn’t get picked up sooner. The podcast has developed an organic fan base through platforms like Twitter, several touring shows, spin-off podcasts and two novels. Now, it seems, it may finally be destined for TV, with FX optioning the rights from Sony Pictures Television for a Night Vale series.
“We’ve had to sit on that information for a bit,” Night Vale co-creator Jeffrey Cranor told TechCrunch. “We’ve been with Sony for a couple of years. It took us a while to find the right people to be involved with. We really like Night Vale a lot and don’t want to just hand it off to anybody.”
Cranor and co-creator Joseph Fink launched the podcast in 2012 as a radio drama that’s a little Twin Peaks, a bit X-Files and touch Art Bell. The format borrows heavily from old radio dramas, as it details the lives of residents in a small Southwestern town where supernatural goings-on are commonplace.
The podcast is primarily told through the monologues of narrator and main character Cecil Palmer — a format that doesn’t lend itself particularly well to a more visual medium. “You can’t have just a guy talking for an hour straight as a TV show,” explains Cranor. “You have to have characters and get on the ground. You have to think about the different relationships and how you can be weird with showing, rather than explaining.”
Of course, this is all still early days, but the show will be in the very capable hands of Gennifer Hutchison, who currently serves as an executive producer for AMC’s hit Breaking Bad spin-off, Better Call Saul. Cranor and Fink will serve as executive producers, should the series be officially picked up by FX, and there’s a good chance that some of the podcast’s voice actors will come along for the ride.
“You can’t write casting into a contract, but I think everyone is interested in the people we already work with,” says Cranor. “We work with real professional people and really good actors. I think anyone who’s involved in the making of the show.”