Serial podcast has not one but two new stories lined up for listeners

29 May 2015

Listening to the Serial podcast on an iPhone. Photo by Casey Fiesler via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Phenomenally popular podcast series Serial has announced two new seasons that are ready for release this year and next.

Season one of Serial spent 12 episodes researching the story of Adnan Syed, a Baltimore man who was sentenced to life in prison following the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, in 1999.

At the time, Syed and Min Lee were both teenagers and, while Serial’s investigation into his claimed innocence was ultimately inconclusive, The Washington Post reported in February that the Maryland Court of Special Appeals had granted Syed an appeal.

Since going ‘off-air’, the question of the Serial podcast’s return has been nagging at podcast fans and, now, the team has revealed there are not one, but two, new seasons in the works.

In an email to the podcast’s subscribers, host and co-creator Sarah Koenig wrote: “We are hard at work reporting not one, but two distinct new stories. This means we’re planning on a third season of Serial. And we hope it means we can reduce the amount of time between the end of season two and the beginning of season three.”

Season two of the Serial podcast will debut this autumn, following with season three next spring.

The Serial podcast phenomenon

Weekly episodes from season one began in October 2014 and fans were gripped by this true-crime investigation, with listeners following Koenig’s trail intently.

As a spin-off of the eminently popular This American Life, Serial benefited from a preview episode airing to that podcast’s widespread audience, which led to an influx of subscribers shooting it to No 1 in iTunes even before its debut – a spot it retained for weeks.

In all, it’s reported that Serial was downloaded somewhere between 60m and 70m times and, in April 2015, it became the first podcast to win the Peabody Award, which recognises public service broadcasters.

As far as what stories the next two seasons will explore, Koenig and co are staying tight-lipped on that one.

“Sorry – we can’t tell you details about the new stories yet. What we can say is that they’re very different from season one, but no less interesting to us,” the email reads.

Serial podcast photo by Casey Fiesler via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic