The True Crime genre earns ever more attention — and greenlights, from platforms worldwide.
My editorial associate Camran Shealy surveyed recently announced or released True Crime projects, summarizing of 20+ of them here.
- Everyone’s doing it: commissioners include Netflix, Discovery+, Peacock, ARD Germany and hulu.
- Netflix dominates Camran’s selection, as expected given its nearly $20 billion annual spend on programs.
- Sub-genres range from Online Predators (The Tinder Swindler) and Celebrity Sexual Abusers (Cosby, Saville) to Business Cons, and more.
What Producers Need to Consider
Our special coverage of the genre was launched by veteran media executive and consultant Ed Hersh.
- In his post True Crime All the Time: Bulk Gives Way to Bespoke, Ed shares valuable insights into what networks want and what producers need to consider.
- And listen to his podcast New Trends in True Crime: Streamers are Changing the Game… What producers need to know! with Ed Hersh
Below is our True Crime Survey (Part 1), and the link to part 2.
The Tinder Swindler
- Shimon Hayut allegedly posed as Simon Leviev and claimed to be the son of a diamond mogul on the popular dating app, Tinder.
- Under his false identity, he would charm women and persuade them to loan him money, swindling an estimated $10 million from victims across the globe.
Director: Felicity Morris
- ‘The Tinder Swindler’ Becomes Netflix’s Most-Watched Documentary
- Netflix in Early Talks to Make ‘Tinder Swindler’ Documentary Into a Movie (EXCLUSIVE)
- ‘Tinder Swindler’ documents when love found online goes horribly wrong
We Need to Talk About Cosby
- Writer/director W. Kamau Bell’s exploration of Bill Cosby’s descent from “America’s Dad” to alleged sexual predator.
- Comedians, journalists and survivors have a candid, first of its kind conversation about the man, his career and crimes.
Director: Kamau Bell
- Kamau Bell On His Emmy Noms For Powerful Doc Series ‘We Need To Talk About Cosby,’ And Facing Barack Obama For Outstanding Narrator
- From Bill Cosby to Kanye West, Long-Form Documentaries Help Us Grasp the Downfall of Pop Culture Heroes
- A Crisis of Fanhood and Faith in “We Need to Talk About Cosby”
Jimmy Saville: A British Horror Story
- Jimmy Savile once ruled the airwaves with a quirky persona and good works.
- So how did this very British icon manage to hide his many alleged bad deeds for so long?
Director: Rowan Deacon
Production Company: 72 Films
- The awful truth of Netflix’s Jimmy Savile documentary: he gaslit an entire nation
- ‘Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story’ is exactly that and worse — because it’s true
Scream: The True Story
- Explores the horrific story of serial killer Danny Rolling, aka The Gainesville Ripper, who believed he was a possessed by a demon and whose gruesome crime spree inspired the blockbuster movie Scream (1996).
Production Companies: Campfire
- ‘Scream: The True Story’: Inside the Horrific Findings of the Documentary
- The 13 Best True Crime Documentraies to Watch in 2022
- The Real-Life Serial Killings That Inspired Scream
The Most Hated Man on the Internet
- Reveals the story of the woman who stood up to Hunter Moore, the self-proclaimed “professional life ruiner,” after photos of her naked daughter were posted online.
Director: Rob Miller
- Who is Hunter Moore? Netflix documentary dives into downfall of ‘Most Hated Man on the Internet’
- ‘The Most Hated Man on the Internet’ tackles the fight against a ‘revenge porn’ site
- Hunter Moore: The Most Hated Man on the Internet
Perfect World: A Deadly Game
- A group of gamers tries to track down an internet troll named Menhaz after he claims to have killed two of his family members, and intends to continue his murder spree.
Commissioner: NBC Universal / Peacock
Production Company: Lusid Media
- Peacock adds documentary Perfect World: A Deadly Game
- Peacock Reveals True Crime Tuesday Slate Including ‘Perfect World’ And ‘Preaching Evil’
- The Quadruple Murders In Peacock’s ‘Perfect World’ And The Gamers Who Helped Solve Them
- Documentary centers around the scandal involving Pure Food and Wine owners Sarma Melngailis and Anthony Strangis.
- Both were ultimately arrested on a litany of charges including grand larceny, tax fraud, defrauding investors, and violations of labor law.
Director: Chris Smith
- The Criminal Antics in ‘Bad Vegan’ Almost Feel Too Tame for TV
- ‘Everything is shades of grey’: inside the bizarre world of Netflix hit Bad Vegan
- After a woman’s at-home DNA test reveals multiple half-siblings, she discovers a shocking scheme involving donor sperm and a popular fertility doctor.
Director: Lucie Jourdan
Production Company: Blumhouse Productions
Executive Producer: Ariane Wu
- Fertility Doctor’s Secret Child Sues Netflix Over Documentary
- Our Father on Netflix review: A harrowing tale of evil and injustice
- ‘Our Father’ on Netflix: Where Is Donald Cline and All Your Questions Answered
- Follows the uniquely qualified team of special agents that are responsible for investigating crimes that occur in the National Park System, as they tackle cases and bring law and order to this public land.
Commissioner: ABC News Studios
Director: Lisa Quijano Wolfinger
- ABC News Studios Unveils Slate Of Non-Fiction Projects As Part Of Official Launch
- Stream It Or Skip It: ‘Wild Crime’ on Hulu, A Captivating Blend of True Crime and Nature Doc
- The 22 Best True-Crime Documentaries Streaming on Hulu Right Now
BTK: Confessions of a Serial Killer
- Features conversations with serial killer Dennis Rader from a Kansas maximum security prison, to examine his crimes and psyche.
Director: Cynthica Childs
- Katherine Ramsland Details Her Personal Experience With BTK in Confession of a Serial Killer Clip
- Inside the Sick, Murderous Mind of the BTK Killer
- BTK Serial Killer Dennis Rader Reveals Details Of Sick Fantasy World & Brutal Murders In New Documentary
More True Crime Coverage
- Read more of Camran Shealy’s selection of recently announced True Crime productions in True Crime Boom: Recent Releases Spotlight What Producers Need to Consider (Part 2)
- Here is the link.
Music Docs: $25 Mn Budgets!?
- Music is another hot genre favored by platform buyers.
- Read my widely read post Streamers Spend on Music Documentaries. Big Stars. Unique Access. Sky High Budgets. $25 Milllion for Billy Eilish
- Ed Hersh:
- Read more of Camran Shealy’s selection of recently announced True Crime productions
My Webinars + MIPCOM Workshop
How to Develop Your Documentary Concept into a Compelling Pitch, with Tom Jennings
- Tom Jennings is the inspiring Peabody & PGA award-winning producer for leading channels & platforms worldwide.
- In our webinar, Tom will answer your questions about how to find a great idea for an unscripted show, and then develop the concept into winning pitch.
- The webinar is for subscribers to my Desktop Documentaries Watch for more details!
- Thursday, September 8, 10am/PT, 1pm/ET.
Netflix & the Streamers: the latest on what they buy and what they pay
- I join Show&Tell’s Keith Ochwat to discuss the streamers’ evolving content needs.
- Webinar is for Show&Tell subscribers. Watch out for details.
- Thursday, September 15, 1245pm / PT, 345pm/ET.
- I’m very excited about attending MIPCOM, starting Sunday, October 16 in Cannes.
- On Wednesday October 19, I’ll moderate an afternoon session dedicated to three revealing Unscripted Case Studies.
- Details to follow.