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'Crimetown' creator Marc Smerling and Sony Music Entertainment announce exclusive podcast partnership


New York NY, USA—Emmy Award winning and Academy Award nominated storyteller, filmmaker, podcaster and pioneer in telling true crime stories Marc Smerling and Sony Music Entertainment today announced a strategic partnership to develop a slate of original podcast programming through Smerling’s Truth Media, a podcast and television production company. Smerling has a proven track record for creating popular true crime hits across multiple platforms. In addition to two seasons of his #1 Apple Podcast sensation Crimetown, Smerling is also a creative force behind the hit podcasts The RFK Tapes and The Ballad of Billy Balls, anointed by The Atlantic Monthly as the second best podcast of 2019, the two-time Emmy winning series and Peabody recipient The Jinx:, The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, the Academy Award nominated Capturing the Friedmans, the Sundance Sensation, Catfish, and top-rated TV series CatfishTV, which is now in its eighth season on MTV.

With Sony Music’s help, Truth Media will expand the overall number of podcast series it produces, including several upcoming true-crime shows. The partnership will kick off with Morally (In)Defensible, a companion to Smerling’s new TV docuseries A Wilderness of Error, which he directed and executive produced with Blumhouse Television and UCP for FX Networks that will air later this year on FX and FX on Hulu. A Wilderness of Error is based on the best-selling book of the same name by documentary filmmaker Errol Morris and tells the story of Green Beret Captain Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, who was convicted of murdering his family more than thirty years ago. MacDonald is in prison, but maintains his innocence to this day. Morally (In)Defensible, the podcast, will follow the story of journalist Joe McGinniss in the writing of his smash bestseller “Fatal Vision,” also about the MacDonald murders. It will be released prior to the airing of the docuseries later this year.

Commenting on the new partnership, Smerling said, “I’m thrilled to be partnering with talented people who understand the power of audio storytelling, and have a deep and successful history in creating content. Our goal together is to expand the genre by telling truly unique stories that dive much deeper and say something larger about who we are and the world we live in.”

Tom Mackay, President, Premium Content, Sony Music Entertainment said, “From Crimetown to The Jinx to Capturing the Friedmans, Marc Smerling is a master of true crime storytelling whose groundbreaking hits have long captivated audiences. As a best-in-class podcaster and an award-winning film and television producer, he is a dual threat creative talent and we are pleased to be partnering with the team at Truth Media in support of his creative vision.”

Smerling will lead the partnership and Truth Media will manage all creative aspects of the relationship, including podcast writing, production and recording. As a partner in podcasting, Sony Music will provide its expertise in content creation, marketing and monetization to help enhance the scale and scope of Truth Media’s work.

Smerling announced his new TV and Podcast production company Truth Media in April 2020 with an aim to continue creating engaging crime-based content across platforms. Truth Media is a Brooklyn based company headquartered in an old factory building now converted into a full service production and post-production facility.

Marc Smerling and Truth Media are represented by UTA.

About Truth Media

Truth Media is a production company focused on creating true crime podcasts to develop into television series. Founded by Marc Smerling, the Emmy award winning and Academy Award nominated producer, writer, director and cinematographer who has been a pioneer in telling true crime stories, Truth Media’s aim is to develop projects that continue to expand how people think of true crime.

The company’s first project is A Wilderness of Error, a five-part non-fiction series airing on FX and FX on Hulu later this year that Smerling executive produced and directed along with Blumhouse and UCP. The series features famed filmmaker Errol Morris and is based on his book of the same name, about one of the most publicized true crimes of the past century - the murder of the family of Army surgeon and Green Beret Jeffrey MacDonald at Fort Bragg in 1970. A companion podcast, Morally (In)defensible, based on writer Joe McGinniss’s journey in telling the story almost thirty years before Errol Morris, will be released prior to the airing of the series.

Truth Media is a Brooklyn based company headquartered in an old factory building now converted into a full service production and post-production facility.

About Marc Smerling

Marc Smerling is an Emmy Award winning and Academy Award-nominated producer, writer, director and cinematographer and founder of Truth Media, a production company focused on creating true crime podcasts to develop into television series.

A pioneer in telling true crime stories, Smerling produced the landmark documentary film Capturing the Friedmans, (2003) which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature and won 18 major international prizes including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Festival and the New York Film Critics Circle Best Non-Fiction Film award. He produced and shot The Jinx - The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst, a six-part series about Robert Durst, which aired on HBO in 2015. The series received six Primetime Emmys nominations - including Best Cinematography for Smerling- and won for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series. “The Jinx” also won a Peabody Award and lead to the arrest of Mr. Durst for the murder of his best friend in California. Smerling also co-wrote and produced the narrative feature All Good Things (2010) starring Ryan Gosling, Kirsten Dunst, and Frank Langella, and produced the acclaimed documentary Catfish (2010) released by Universal Pictures. He is executive producer of Catfish, the TV series.

In addition, Smerling laid the path for the explosion and popularity of true crime podcasts when he‌ ‌created‌ ‌and‌ ‌hosted‌‌ Crimetown with Zac Stuart-Pontier and Gimlet Media in 2016. ‌ ‌The groundbreaking first season about Providence, Rhode Island expanded the genre beyond plodding murder mysteries and true-crime tropes to deliver a portrait of a city under siege from organized crime and political corruption. The‌ ‌first‌ ‌season‌ of Crimetown ‌landed‌ ‌atop many ‌2017‌ ‌podcast‌ ‌top-ten‌ ‌lists‌, including ‌‌The‌ ‌New‌ ‌York‌ ‌Times‌‌ ‌and‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌Atlantic‌ ‌Monthly‌.‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌Ringer‌ ‌called‌ ‌it‌ ‌“cinema‌ ‌for‌ ‌your‌ ‌ears.”‌ ‌‌Interview‌ ‌Magazine‌‌ ‌called‌ ‌it‌ ‌“an‌ ‌ambitious,‌ ‌anthropological‌ ‌epic.”‌ ‌The‌ ‌second‌ ‌season‌ ‌of‌ ‌“Crimetown”‌ ‌(2019),‌ ‌featured‌ ‌Detroit’s‌ ‌controversial‌ ‌mayor,‌ ‌Kwame‌ ‌Kilpatrick,‌ ‌who‌ ‌is‌ ‌currently‌ ‌serving‌ ‌a‌ ‌28-year‌ ‌sentence‌ ‌in‌ ‌federal‌ ‌prison.‌ ‌Crimetown‌ ‌has‌ almost 100 million ‌downloads‌ ‌worldwide.‌ ‌Smerling‌ ‌also‌ ‌produced‌ ‌The‌ ‌Ballad‌ ‌Of‌ ‌Billy‌ ‌Balls,” ‌ranked‌ ‌No.‌ ‌2‌ ‌on‌ ‌‌The‌ ‌Atlantic‌ ‌Monthly‌’s‌ ‌Top‌ ‌ 100‌ ‌podcasts‌ ‌of‌ ‌2019,‌ ‌and‌ ‌The‌ ‌RFK‌ ‌Tapes.‌ ‌Both‌ ‌Crimetown:‌ ‌Providence‌‌ ‌‌and‌ ‌The‌ ‌Ballad‌ ‌Of‌ ‌Billy‌ ‌Balls‌ ‌are‌ ‌being‌ ‌developed‌ ‌for‌ ‌scripted‌ ‌television‌ ‌series‌ ‌at‌ ‌major‌ ‌studios.‌ ‌For‌ ‌his‌ ‌collective‌ ‌contributions‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌podcast‌ ‌industry,‌ ‌iHeartRadio‌ ‌named‌ ‌Smerling‌ ‌the‌ ‌“Podcast‌ ‌Innovator‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Year”‌ ‌in‌ ‌2019.‌ ‌

About Sony Music Entertainment

At Sony Music Entertainment, we fuel the creative journey. We’ve played a pioneering role in music history, from the first-ever music label to the invention of the flat disc record. We’ve nurtured some of music’s most iconic artists and produced some of the most influential recordings of all time. Today, we work in more than 60 countries, supporting a diverse roster of international superstars, developing and independent artists, and visionary creators. From our position at the intersection of music, entertainment, and technology, we bring imagination and expertise to the newest products and platforms, embrace new business models, employ breakthrough tools, and provide powerful insights that help our artists push creative boundaries and reach new audiences. In everything we do, we’re committed to artistic integrity, transparency, and entrepreneurship. Sony Music Entertainment is a member of the Sony family of global companies.

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