True crime has managed to dominate the podcasting sector, particularly due to its riveting storylines and alluring plot twists. This genre is also extremely prevalent with women, seeing that 61% of true crime listeners identify as female. As such, this opens up an entirely new demographic for keen advertisers, adding even more value to the medium. To delve into this further, Netinfluencer will discuss the crucial aspects of The Dropout Podcast, which explains the intense story of Elizabeth Holmes’ fall from grace.
The Creators Behind the Podcast
The Dropout Podcast explores the story of Elizabeth Holmes, an ingenious scientist, who managed to suffer a wealth of criminal charges in just a few short years. Holmes was held to a very high standard, becoming the youngest self-made female billionaire, and was often regarded as the female Steve Jobs. She was the founder of Theranos, an American health technology company that promised investors a piece of breakthrough equipment that simply did not exist. The podcast relies on a collection of highly sought-after ABC correspondents, including Taylor Dunn, Victoria Thompson, and Rebecca Jarvis.
Taylor Dunn was a key part of the criminal case, documenting every twist and turn for over three years. Her story helped to unravel the fraudulent activity related to this case and made it increasingly difficult for audiences to believe the extraordinary claims that Theranos was displaying. Dunn is also the co-creator of The Dropout Podcast and was also heavily involved in the series adaptation of the podcast, which appeared on Hulu in March 2022.
As a prevalent Associate Producer across various ABC projects, Victoria Thompson has managed to effectively bring this riveting story to life both in terms of the podcast and TV. Thompson received a ton of commendations for her hard work, including a Primetime Emmy Award for her involvement in The Dropout.
The show’s main host is Rebecca Jarvis, the Chief Business, Economics, and Technology Correspondent for ABC News. Her devotion to investment banking and scientific developments gave her an advantage over the case, allowing her to explore the lies and deceit seen throughout Theranos and how this managed to deceive many venture capitalists. Jarvis is also a producer for The Dropout podcast, TV show, and movie, placing her in the center of this nail-biting story.
Themes and Topics Covered
The Dropout Podcast began in January 2019, exploring how Elizabeth Homles gained the prestigious title of a child genius. The hosts go into great detail about her high-end education, especially her journey at Stanford University. Holmes then decided to leave Stanford early, setting out on her own to become one of the world’s leading tech pioneers. The reporters also hold great focus on Holmes’ unique appearance, discussing how she managed to create her own personal style, based on her biggest source of inspiration, Steve Jobs.
As the story progresses, viewers grow to understand the core values of Theranos, a company based on medical advancements and life-saving practices. However, the fourth episode, The Whistleblower explores how the company’s employees are reacting to growing concerns of fraud and illegitimacy. The hosts then introduce Tyler Shultz, a young research engineer who bravely altered these claims to the Board of Directors. This is where the story takes a pivotal turn, showing the cracks within Theranos’s impenetrable exterior.
Episode six, titled What Now? pulls upon Preet Bharara, a former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York to discuss what Holmes can expect as she awaits trial for multiple instances of fraud. The hosts also delve into the founder’s past, exploring how her relationship with Sunny Balwani, the former CEO of Theranos could impact her fate in court.
The Reach of The Dropout Podcast
Although the true crime genre often relies on themes of gore and violence to attract its fan base, The Dropout Podcast does something entirely different and is still able to see immense levels of success. By amassing over 20,000 five-star reviews during the first seven episodes, this series is able to push away from the traditional themes of this genre and entice audiences with its detailed storytelling and informative concepts.
Though the podcast itself does not have a strong social media presence, the content surrounding it manages to gain a tremendous amount of engagement. Hulu’s adaptation of the podcast is extremely prevalent on Instagram, collecting 10,000 devoted followers. This platform works to celebrate the overall success of the show, highlighting the actors’ achievements like Amanda Seyfried’s Golden Globe win.
The Format of the Podcast
Each episode of The Dropout Podcast follows a similar structure, lasting for around an hour to help keep this enticing story easy to digest. Though the initial series had just six episodes, the hosts have also been documenting the updates regarding Holmes’ legal case and personal life. In August 2021, the trio began to explore what happened in the three years since Holmes was charged with fraud, exposing the collection of defamations that had been built up against her. The audience also gains a chance to learn more about her personal life, including a new relationship and the birth of her first child.
A month later, Holmes begins her trial, allowing the hosts to piece together the last parts of this lengthy puzzle. The correspondents also give audiences a small glimpse inside the courtroom, discussing the accused’s demeanor and overall presence. Thus, it seems that these dedicated producers and journalists are adamant to get to the bottom of this case and experience justice on behalf of all of those affected by Theranos’ lies.
The podcast also offers a behind-the-scenes look at the show’s adaptation for TV, exploring how these talented actors managed to take on the image of such disingenuous figures. In a special episode known as 20/20: The Rise and Con of Elizabeth Holmes, audiences will gain a unique look into Seyfried’s interpretation of Holmes as well as hear from one of the members of the jury that helped to convict her.
Reception and Impact
This show signified an immense rise in popularity for documentary podcasts and allowed its hosts to gain a wealth of praise and relevant achievements. Taylor Dunn’s work on The Dropout helped her to win a Front Page Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, as well as the iHeartRadio Podcast of the Year Award. Alongside these awards, Dunn has managed to conquer the world of investigative journalism, placing her on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list back in 2020.
As Elizabeth Holmes’ story continues to captivate audiences, so do its various adaptations. Victoria Thompson was nominated for an Emmy for her work on the Hulu series and managed to win a Critics’ Choice Award in January 2023. Though Holmes’ case may be closed, Thompson is still working to uncover the mysteries surrounding those who were associated with her work and the investors who suffered as a result.
Due to her work on many ABC shows such as Good Morning America and Nightline, Rebecca Jarvis has shown herself as one of the leading figures in modern news broadcasting. Her work on The Dropout has also allowed her to gain even more crucial acclaim, including being named a National Point of Light by ex-Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. She has also conducted a wealth of ground-breaking interviews with many key figures such as Apple CEO Tim Cook and is noted to be the first and only broadcaster to interview United CEO, Oscar Munoz.
The Dropout Podcast allows listeners to immerse themselves in every step of this shocking case, deciding for themselves whether they believe that Holmes’ sentencing was fair in relation to work. The correspondents also showcase themselves as key figures within the plot, giving them an unobstructed view into the real life of this revolutionary criminal. This podcast can be discovered on a wealth of popular streaming platforms such as Spotify and Google Podcasts.