“Gladiator,” the podcast about Aaron Hernandez produced by Wondery and The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team, has been optioned by FX. The network now has the rights to develop the material, which means “Gladiator” could follow in the footsteps of other true-crime podcasts that have been adapted for television.
Wondery and The Los Angeles Times’s podcast “Dirty John,” based on journalist Christopher Goffard’s reporting on con artist John Meehan, is now a series on Bravo starring Connie Britton and Eric Bana. The Wondery podcast “Dr. Death,” about the crimes of doctor Christopher Duntsch, is in development with Universal Cable Productions. Jessica Biel is starring in and producing a show for Facebook based on the true-crime-inspired fiction podcast “Limetown” by Zack Akers and Skip Bronkie.
“Gladiator” has been downloaded close to 4.5 million times, according to Wondery. This week, it’s at No. 2 on Podtrac’s list of the top new podcasts of 2018, just behind “Dr. Death.” (The Podtrac rankings are “based on average U.S. downloads per episode across all listening devices.”)
No word yet on FX’s plan for “Gladiator.” The six-episode podcast, which debuted in October and is hosted by the Globe’s Bob Hohler, followed the downfall of Hernandez, the former Patriots tight end who in 2015 was convicted for the murder of Odin Lloyd. Hernandez died at the UMass Memorial Hospital-Leominster in April 2017 after he was found hanging in his cell at the Correctional Center in Lancaster. Hernandez’s family donated his brain to Boston University for the research of chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.
The podcast was released alongside a Spotlight Team series on the subject.