This reality competition is kinder than TV equivalents and reveals what goes into making a successful podcast
It was only a matter of time before podcasting networks were lured by the reality format. Where this summer’s The Habitat dipped a toe into the genre with a Big Brother-style programme in which volunteers lived in a confined space to simulate life on Mars, now we have Casting Call, online audio’s answer to The Apprentice, but without the bad suits or the air of conceit.
A collaboration between Gimlet Creative and the publishing platform Squarespace, Casting Call is a competition in which amateur podcasters submit pitches for a new show. It is, says its host Jonathan Goldstein, “like one of those Hollywood singing competitions, but for people who don’t know how to sing, dance or smile like their lives depend on it.” Five thousand applicants are boiled down to three finalists, who are each brought to Gimlet’s office in Brooklyn to record a pilot. After a public vote, one will emerge victorious and be rewarded with a mini-series.