DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Arrested Industries and AYR Media have signed a co-development deal to create a limited series based on AYR’s popular true crime podcast The Murder of Robert Wone, which debuted on Audible in 2021.

The new partnership, Arrested Industries’ first since setting up its US office, will be led by Arrested’s LA-based co-CEO Anthony Kimble and AYR Media founder and president Aliza Rosen. Rosen and her team at AYR created and produced the original Murder of Robert Wone podcast, which was named one of Audible’s “Best Listens of 2021”.

The Murder of Robert Wone is a tragic and shocking Shakespearean mystery with major twists, turns and cover-ups, all set against a backdrop of sex, queerness and crime during the George W. Bush administration. The circumstances surrounding Wone’s death were, and remain, baffling and today, more than 15 years later, his murder is still unsolved.

Robert Wone and Joseph Price were unlikely friends. They met in college, and both went on to become promising young lawyers in the high-powered world of Washington, D.C. That’s where their similarities end. Robert was a first-generation Chinese American, newly married to his wife Kathy and about to embark on a new career. Joseph was a prominent LGBT activist, known for his wealth, influence and unconventional three-way relationship with partner Victor Zaborksy and with Dylan Ward, the younger man who shared their home in an affluent D.C. neighbourhood. On the night of August 2nd, 2006, the lives of all four men changed forever. Shortly before midnight, Robert was discovered stabbed to death in Joe’s guest room. At the scene, police found no evidence of an intruder but did discover a plethora of BDSM paraphernalia. The ‘throuple’ of Joe, Victor and Dylan are eventually charged and a contentious, highly publicised trial ensues, but does justice ever get truly served?

“Aliza and her team have cleverly created one of the most riveting and totally absorbing podcasts of recent times and I am beyond excited to now be working with AYR to develop this story as a drama”, says Anthony Kimble, co-CEO of Arrested Industries. “This is an incredible tale about how human emotion and passion crashed together with homophobia and sexual stigma in law enforcement, politics, the media, and DC’s pearl-clutching culture to keep a murder from being solved. It is now destined to capture a whole new audience as a scripted series, in addition to re-engaging the many fans who have already listened spellbound to the podcast.”

Rosen added, “We are extremely proud of the ‘Robert Wone’ podcast’s reception and popularity among listeners, and this is a story that we’ve always felt naturally lends itself to scripted television. It’s a twisted and unpredictable true crime tale that’s filled to the brim with colorful characters and culture clash, all unfolding during a glamorous and polarizing era in Washington D.C. I’m ecstatic to partner with Anthony and the Arrested team to build upon what we began with the original podcast, and we look forward to bringing this series to buyers and, ultimately, viewers.”

Rosen and AYR are represented by Rabih Gholam of Innovative Artists.

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