EXCLUSIVE: Pacesetter Productions, the company established by Station Eleven and Black Mirror exec producer Jessica Rhoades, has teamed up with Campside Media, the company behind the Chameleon podcast franchise, to launch a new audio series.
The two companies are launching Kelly and the Satanic Panic.
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The series will explore one of the most controversial cases of the 1980s that saw Kelly Michaels, a 23-year-old college student accused of Satanically abusing dozens of children in 1985 before being exonerated.
The podcast, which will launch on December 7, will feature access to Michaels. It will be hosted by Vanessa Grigoriadis, one of the co-founders of Campside, and Natalie Robehmed, who wrote the Wondery podcast WeCrashed that was later adapted for an Apple series.
Considered the Monster of Maplewood, Michaels’ case was the longest and most expensive in New Jersey history at the time, and she was convicted and sentenced to 47 years in prison. The accusations, which included outrageous acts such as forcing toddlers to watch her play Jingle Bells on a preschool piano in the nude, were supported by New York’s elite such as Anna Quindlen. Michaels spent five years in prison before exoneration.
The show will be a stand-alone story in Campside’s Infamous franchise, which is in its second year as part of Sony Music Entertainment’s The Binge. The first season saw reporters Grigoriadis and Gabriel Sherman look at some of the most explosive scandals of this century.
Pacesetter Productions brought the project to Campside with producer Max Perry. Pacesetter executive Bryan Daly will point the project for the shingle.
Given Pacesetter’s television credentials, don’t be surprised if there’s also a TV remake at some point.
Take a listen here.
“The moment we first met with Max, we wanted to learn more about Kelly’s story,” said Rhoades. “Memory is so fascinating and this case really centers on how fallible our recollection is. Based on Campside’s previous work in this space and Vanessa Grigoriadis’ credentials, we knew they would be the perfect partner on this incredible project.”
“QAnon conspiracies about a shadowy Democratic cabal kidnapping children and torturing them owe their provenance to Kelly’s story,” added Grigoriadis. “Every decade needs its own folk devil, and in the 1980s, the winds of fate cast a day-care teacher in New Jersey in the role.”
“We have been wanting to work with Jessica since the formation of Campside,” said Campside co-founder Adam Hoff. “To be able to bring this to life and elevate both Kelly’s story and Max’s vision at the same time through the unique skills of Vanessa and the Infamous team is one of the things that makes Campside such a rewarding venture. One plus one really can equal three at times.”
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