Does ‘Serial’ Going Bi-Weekly Spell Trouble For The Popular Podcast?

Bowe Bergdahl Attends First Hearing In Army Court Martial At Fort Bragg
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The second season of the popular podcast Serial began with a bang in early December with the story of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who’d been held captive by the Taliban for five years in Afghanistan. Yet Bergdahl’s story is still ongoing, which means that host Sarah Koenig and her staff cannot follow the same trail they blazed with season one. That’s why they recently announced that this season will now be following a bi-weekly release schedule.

As Vulture points out, executive producer Julie Snyder told The New York Times that 14 days (instead of the first season’s seven days) were needed to accommodate recent developments in the military’s case against Bergdahl. Plus, other factors have come into play, like the newfound willingness of subjects associated with the story to talk:

“There are more paths we need to go down,” Ms. Snyder said. “Since we started broadcasting the show, we have gotten more people willing to talk, and because of that, it has opened up more avenues of reporting.”

She declined to comment on whom those interviews were with, or what additional reporting the show needed to pursue.

“We have narrative developments,” she said. “I hesitate on calling them news developments.”

The NYT story pointed out the second season’s falling download numbers when compared to the first, and asked Snyder if she was worried that a bi-weekly schedule would further harm the podcast. She did not, and stressed that the first season’s popularity was due to Serial‘s being novel at the time. Now that everyone knows what the podcast is all about, she opined, many listeners are waiting until the very end to binge it.

So, despite the fact that downloads for Serial aren’t as high as they were during the first season, Snyder and company are convinced their focus on Bergdahl will carry the show through its final episode in the spring. Besides, unlike last year’s emphasis on a much older story, Bergdahl’s captivity, release and ensuing controversy are more recent. Hell, his possible court-martial is pending right now.

(Via The New York Times via Vulture)