EXCLUSIVE: Former MGM film director Jonathan Glickman steps into the podcast space and has signed a co-production deal with iHeartMedia for a number of music-powered shows.
Glickman, who recently edited the James Bond feature film No Time To Die, has signed a deal with the podcast publisher through his company Glickmania Media, whose credits include Aretha Franklin’s Biopic Respect and Netflix’s upcoming Addams Family series on Wednesday.
The new company will produce four shows in two years, including a schoolhouse rock-style family show and a horror musical starring Maya Hawke of Stranger Things.
The deal includes Unsung, which was created in association with Story Pirates, Diane’s Inferno with Hawke and Yungblud, disco crime thriller Lost You On The Dance Floor, and the anthology series Ballad Of An Outlaw about the 1981 attempted murder, and Ronald Reagan.
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Glickman (left) told resourcingstrategies that he is a huge fan of the podcast medium and has been downloading RSS feeds for 15 years. It also combines this with his love for concept albums like Tommy, The Wall and Jesus Christ Superstar to tell stories through music.
The way the company was founded enables Glickman to share rights with talent – a model he worked on during his tenure as head of the MGM Motion Picture Group.
“I’m using the model I’ve seen so well on MGM, the United Artists model of [allowing] These creative partners have the underlying rights with me and not just in the podcast space but throughout the life of the franchise, ”he said. “Talent deserves this participation and it becomes a better story.”
Unsung will be his first show and Glickman describes it as Schoolhouse Rock meets Hamilton. Each episode uses hip-hop tracks to create mini-musicals that tell the stories of under-famous heroes from all backgrounds, including leading figures in science, sports, and the arts, as well as those who made a difference through social change. Stories are told about tennis player Althea Gibson, early space exploration pioneer Mary G. Ross, and musician Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
“We’ll know experts in the field talking to kids about these unsung heroes, as well as original songs that appear in each episode. In 25 years, when people are studying athletes in history, we want people to know Althea Gibson from a song that lasts so long that constitutionally asking people will still be singing “I’m Just a Bill” ” , he added .
Diane’s Inferno is a gender-specific horror retelling of Dante’s Inferno, set through the modern hell landscape of New York’s underworld. Written and directed by Lisa Duva, who recently wrote the screenplay for Hound, which was starred on Searchlight with Zoey Deutch, it follows Diane, voiced by Hawke, a backup singer who crosses the East River, following the H train takes and fights demons as she seeks revenge on her rock star friend’s killer voiced by singer-songwriter Yungblud.
Zach Dawes, producer, who worked with Lana Del Rey and Arctic Monkeys, will oversee the music for the musical Rocky Horror meets The Warriors.
Lost You On The Dance Floor is a crime thriller against the rise and fall of the 1970s disco era. Written by journalist Matt Diehl, whose book Notorious COP is being developed into a TV show by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, it tells the story of a woman who discovers that her birth father was indeed a legendary musical impresario, who lived under a cloud disappeared of suspicion. Glickman says it takes place in the “surrogate” disco world where “John Travolta exists but Saturday Night Fever doesn’t”.
Finally, Ballad of a Outlaw is a veritable anthology series that initially looks at President Ronald Reagan’s attempt in 1981 to investigate John Hinckley Jr.’s music therapy sessions in a mental hospital. It was created by journalist Jonathan Bernstein and composer Robbie Roth and will contain original music by Roth.
The slate is jointly produced by Glickmania Media and iHeartRadio and distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network. Executive producers for Unsung are Benjamin Salka, Lee Overtree and Jonathan Glickman; for Diane’s Inferno are Glickman and Molly Mankiewicz; for Lost You On The Dance Floor are Glickman and Matt Diehl; and for Ballad of a Outlaw are Glickman, Jonathan Bernstein and Robbie Roth. Matthew Frederick and Alex Williams will produce the entire list of shows for iHeartRadio. CAA brokered the deal on behalf of Glickmania.
“Glickman is a name synonymous with developing some of the most creative and compelling IP addresses in the entertainment world,” added Conal Byrne, CEO of iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group. “They know how to tell stories in a whole new way – and those are the creators we love to support. We’re excited to partner with Glickmania Media to bring this cutting-edge, most musical podcast list to millions of listeners around the world. “