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  • The San Francisco Chronicle, Ugly Duckling Films and Sony Music Entertainment Announce New Podcast
  • Oct 21, 2020

First Narrative Podcast from The San Francisco Chronicle

Series Being Developed in Association with Audio Production Leader Neon Hum

Click Here to Subscribe & Follow New Developments; Submit Case Tips at (415) 570-9299 

New York and San Francisco – October 20, 2020 – The San Francisco Chronicle, UK production company Ugly Duckling Films and Sony Music Entertainment are partnering to develop the first narrative podcast project from The Chronicle, a new true crime series called The Doodler, the companies announced today. The podcast will tell the story of the ongoing hunt for a notorious serial killer known as the “Doodler” who targeted San Francisco’s closeted gay community in the 1970s and is suspected to have murdered more people than the infamous Zodiac serial killer.

Hosted by Pulitzer-prize nominated reporter Kevin Fagan of The San Francisco Chronicle and long-time investigative reporter Michael Taylor, with contributions from The Chronicle’s King Kaufman, The Doodlerinvestigates a shocking cold case in pursuit of the truth about an anonymous killer named for the skilled drawings of the victims that he left behind at the scenes of his crimes. Click here to subscribe and stay on top of case developments. 

Almost 50 years after first terrorizing the city, there is strong belief that the “Doodler” is still alive and residing in the Bay Area. The investigation gained new momentum in 2019 after the San Francisco Police Department released a sketch of what the killer may look like today and offered a $100,000 reward for detail leading to his capture. 

Now Fagan, in collaboration with Taylor, will pick up the trail of the “Doodler” and leverage their extensive investigative journalism backgrounds to uncover new leads and explore new paths into finding a serial murderer who, despite the depravity the crimes, remains at large and relatively unknown in the eyes of the public. As part of their investigation, the production team has created an anonymous tip line for anyone with information about the “Doodler” case. Tips can be submitted by calling 415-570-9299. 

“Press, including The San Francisco Chronicle, barely acknowledged the case,” Fagan said. “This is a way of rectifying such silence and finding justice for the victims and the LGBT community. Our main objective? To find the Doodler.” 

“We were so surprised to hear that the ‘Doodler’ was not well-known despite the monstrosity of his crimes”, said UDF’s founder Lene Bausager and producer Sophia Gibber. “This takes place at a time where homosexuality had just been taken off the list of psychiatric disorders, a year just before women were allowed to become full police officers, and at the heart of the case, leading it from the offset, was the first black homicide investigator – all aspects of the case which couldn’t be more relevant with today’s landscape.” 

The Doodler is being produced by The San Francisco Chronicle and Ugly Duckling Films in association with podcast production leader Neon Hum and is set for release in 2021. As a leading partner to podcast creators, Sony Music Entertainment will provide its expertise in content creation, marketing and monetization in support of the project.  

Tom Mackay, President, Premium Content A&R, Sony Music Entertainment said, “We are excited to pair the production strength of Neon Hum and Ugly Duckling Films with the journalistic expertise of The San Francisco Chronicle to dig into this shocking story and shed new light on the truth behind this case.”    

UDF was represented by Travis Dunlop of WME and Randy Paul.

More information about the upcoming podcast is available here.  

About the Production Team

Ugly Duckling Films is a London-based film, television and documentary production company founded by Oscar-nominated producer Lene Bausager. Upcoming productions under the banner include Brit List nominee debut THE BIKE THIEF and John Ogunmuyiwa’s short PRECIOUS for BBC Films’ and BFI, along with the BAFTA winner Guy Hibbert-helmed POMEGRANATE IS THE ANSWER.  Previous films include Sir Ian McKellen documentary PLAYING THE PART, Daniel Craig-starrer FLASHBACKS OF A FOOL, Sean Ellis’ CASHBACK and Lena Headey-starrer THE BROKEN, and Jim Ward Byrkit’s sci-fi indie hit COHERENCE.  Both Lene Bausager, and Sophia Gibber are Executive Producers of the podcast. Ugly Duckling Films is represented by WME. 

The San Francisco Chronicle ( is the largest newspaper in Northern California and the second largest on the West Coast. Acquired by Hearst in 2000, The San Francisco Chronicle was founded in 1865 by Charles and Michael de Young and has been awarded six Pulitzer Prizes for journalistic excellence. With name-brand voices and a keen editorial eye, the Chronicle is an authority that still surprises.  Follow us on Twitter @SFChronicle.

Kevin Fagan is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated longtime reporter at The San Francisco Chronicle. He specializes in homelessness, enterprise news-feature writing and breaking news, taking particular pleasure in ferreting out stories others might not find — from profiling the desperate lives of drug addicts in the street to riding the rails with hobos, finding people who sleep in coffins and detailing the intricacies of hunting down serial killers. His 2003 series ‘Shame of the City’ about homelessness in San Francisco prompted reforms which looked to target the issue via offering supportive housing, while another report on a specific homeless woman called Rita sparked the Homeward Bound program. He is an advocate of solution journalism, where journalism can evoke social change and directly influence policy, and has been awarded the national James Aronson Award for Social Justice and the national Excellence in Urban Journalism Award. He has been featured on the hit podcast series MON­STER, about the Zodiac killer, and witnessed more executions than anyone in California. He was the first journalist to break the news of the SFPD press conference this February 

Michael Taylor is a longtime investigative reporter and editor who has covered some of the biggest crime stories of our time, including the case of the serial killer known as the Unabomber and the murderous saga of the Symbionese Liberation Army. He is retired from The San Francisco Chronicle and does private investigations and freelance writing. 

Neon Hum is a leading podcast production company founded by producer, reporter and sound designer Jonathan Hirsch. Based in Los Angeles, it specializes in narrative-driven, high production value, “audio first” documentaries, talk shows and partner content. In December 2019, Sony Music Entertainment announced a strategic investment in Neon Hum as part of a new creative partnership between the two companies to expand their development of original podcast content and launch a range of new shows across multiple genres.

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