Astros cheating scandal getting true-crime treatment with podcast, TV show

Mike Oz

If you thought Thursday’s apology day might mean the beginning of the end of the Houston Astros cheating scandal, think again. This thing is just getting started, especially considering how much the Astros bungled their long-awaited day of contrition.

Not only will this story follow the team everywhere it goes during the 2020 season, but it’s now getting the true-crime treatment as the team behind the popular “Slow Burn” podcast from Slate and Cadence13, one of the leading podcast companies, are working to turn the Astros cheating story into both a podcast and a TV show.

“Slow Burn” has tackled decade-defining stories like Watergate, the Bill Clinton impeachment and the deaths of rappers Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G. Putting the Astros in that company should prove how big this story has become.

Jose Altuve of the Astros apologizes Thursday for the Astros 2017 cheating scheme. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
Jose Altuve of the Astros apologizes Thursday for the Astros 2017 cheating scheme. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)

The Hollywood Reporter has the news:

To tell the Astros' story, Cadence13 has teamed with Sports Illustrated writer Ben Reiter, who will write and host the show, and Slow Burn co-creators Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons, who will produce via Neyfakh's Prologue Projects shingle. Cadence13 content chief Chris Corcoran and Underground Entertainment partner Steven Fisher will executive produce.

A TV series based on the podcast also is in development with Left/Right Productions, the producer of Epix's Slow Burn adaptation as well as Showtime's The Circus and FX's The Weekly. Reiter, Prologue Projects and Underground also are attached to the TV adaptation.

Added Neyfakh, "We have long wanted to apply our narrative approach to a story that's outside the world of politics. The Astros saga is the perfect place for us to start — in addition to being populated by amazing characters, it forces you to ask yourself hard questions about the meaning of fairness, cheating and secrecy."

The podcast is scheduled to debut in Summer 2020. No timeline was announced for the TV show.

Bringing in Ben Reiter from Sports Illustrated to help is already a polarizing choice. In 2014, he wrote the now-famous story that pegged the Astros as 2017 World Series champions. He also wrote a now-infamous book called “Astroball” that came out in 2018, documenting the team’s rise to the World Series. In hindsight, he’s faced criticism for completely missing the cheating scheme.

Ripped-from-the-headlines podcasts and docuseries are so hot these days that you can expect this won’t be the only one that aims to tell the story of the 2017 Astros, the cheating scheme and the ways its engulfed baseball this winter.

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