‘Serial’ podcast shifts to biweekly schedule

Once a weekly podcast, new “Serial” episodes will now come out every other week, host Sarah Koenig announced Tuesday.

The fifth episode of the popular podcast series will be available Jan. 21 and will then continue a biweekly schedule for the duration of season two, Koenig said in an online statement on the podcast’s website.

The latest season of the series covers the story of U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who faces desertion charges after walking off a base in Afghanistan in 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban for five years. Bergdahl was released in May 2014, in exchange for five Taliban detainees.

“This story goes in so many directions, and as we’re reporting it we’re getting access to more of the key people close to Bergdahl’s case, and to more information than we initially thought we would,” she said in the statement, adding that the series will also produce at least one extra episode, as a result.

“To do that — or at least to do it right — will take some time,” Koenig said.

Season one of “Serial” was a massive hit last year, focusing on a true crime story allowed millions to scrutinize the 1999 conviction of Adnan Syed, a high school senior who was charged in the killing of ex-girlfriend. He’s currently serving a life sentence.

The New York Times asked producers whether the schedule change would further slow the podcast’s momentum, at a time when season two hasn’t generated the attention it captured in its debut season.

“I have definitely noticed it, and I was definitely prepared for it,” executive producer Julie Snyder told the Times. “So much of the story of season one was about us. There was a lot of coverage about, ‘What is this? Have you heard it?’ We’re not a new story anymore.”

Snyder added that the premiere episode of the season garnered 3.4 million downloads in the first week, which trumps even the seven-day total of season finale from the first season.