Dateline NBC is expanding its brand outside of the Friday night broadcast TV space.
This expansion includes the launch of a Dateline podcast, 13 Alibis. Considering how well true-crime podcasts have performed historically, (think: Serial, and This American Life, for example) it was only a matter of time before the prime time newsmagazine launched a podcast of its own.
“If you really believe you have a strong brand – which we do in the genre of murder mystery/true crime – you want to extend it and you want to assert it, really, in as many places as is appropriate,” says David Corvo, the NBC News senior executive producer who helms the program.
The seven-part podcast (each 15 to 20 minutes in length) features Dateline producer Dan Slepian as he takes listeners on a real-time journey into a two-year investigation of a convicted murderer serving 20 years in prison for a crime he claims he did not commit.
According to Corvo and Dateline ep Liz Cole, the show isn’t just looking at true crime podcasts, like 13 Alibis. According to Variety, they’re also considering podcasts that rely on some of the on-air correspondents from Dateline which that tackle legal and social issues behind crime stories. There may also be opportunities to make the Dateline TV broadcasts available in audio form. “I think we will get better and better at it as we do it,” Corvo told Variety.
It’s worth noting that ever since it moved to a two-hour format at the start of 2019, ABC’s Friday night prime time news magazine 20/20 has regularly defeated Dateline in the ratings department (the last two weeks being exceptions). Dateline undoubtedly wants to own the younger demo in this genre, and dipping into the podcast genre, which skews younger than broadcast TV, is one way to accomplish that feat.