The very popular The Thing About Pam podcast is becoming a scripted limited series. Blumhouse Television, the TV division of horror movie label, Blumhouse, has joined with NBC News Studios, a recently formed division of NBC News, to co-produce a new scripted series based on Dateline coverage of Pam Hupp and her involvement with several homicides from 2011 through 2016 in Missouri, including Betsy Faria, Louis Gumpenberger and Hupp's own mother, Shirley Neumann. This co-production is the first project to launch from a partnership announced in early 2020.
Marci Wiseman and Jeremy Gold, co-presidents of Blumhouse Television, in a prepared statement, said, "We're not just looking for monsters under the bed, but also the things that keep us up at night so the chance to mine the incredibly rich trove of material from the Dateline archives to develop is a really unique and exciting opportunity for us. When we first came across The Thing About Pam, like thousands of others who've seen the Dateline episode and listened to the podcast, we were riveted. So when NBC presented this to us we jumped at making this our first scripted project with them."
The scripted series will be based on the true story of the murder of Betsy Faria in 2011. Faria's husband was initially sentenced, but later freed, as another suspect emerged. NBC's 28 year-old news magazine, Dateline, first covered the case in 2014 and has revisited the story several times since, for a total of five episodes. Dateline also created a podcast called The Thing About Pam in 2019. The teaser trailer for the show, appearing Tuesday, May 19th, borrowed the title as well - although it is not known if that will be the final title for the new scripted series. Added bonus, it is narrated by Keith Morrison
Pam Hupp is currently serving a life sentence, after having been convicted in 2019 of the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger as part of a plot to implicate Russ Faria, Betsy Faria's husband, in the 2011 murder of his wife. Russ had already been convicted in 2013 of his wife's murder based on testimony from Hupp. In 2015, evidence implicating Hupp for the murder of Betsy, was permitted to be submitted and reviewed as part of the original case. As a result, Russ Faria was exonerated in the Betsy Faria murder case and the investigation was reopened and shifted to Pam Hupp. Hupp shot Louis Gumbenberger in her home in 2016, claiming the mentally disabled man had been instructed to kidnap her at knife point on instructions from Russ Faria, whom she was still trying to implicate in his wife's murder well after his exoneration.
The entire sordid affair apparently occurred after Hupp learned that Betsy Faria had been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and was terminal. Faria changed the sole beneficiary of her $150,000 State Farm life insurance policy from her husband, Russ, to Hupp, with whom she worked at State Farm. Hupp claimed that Betsy had wanted Hupp to give the money to her daughters when they were older, but later claimed Betsy had wanted Pam to keep the money for herself. Hupp was the last person to see Betsy alive, driving her from her chemotherapy treatment to her home.
When Betsy's husband, Russ, arrived home later thant night, he found his wife and called 9-1-1 reporting that she'd committed suicide. Betsy Faria, though, had been stabbed more than 55 times and her arms were nearly complete severed and the murder weapon was lodged in her neck. A second knife was found under a pillow on the couch she had been lying on. Suspicion quickly fell on the husband, Russ, and the fact that Betsy had changed the beneficiary on the $150,000 life insurance policy to Hupp instead of Russ gave him the motive for murder, despite the fact that he was still the beneficiary on a smaller, $100,000 life insurance policy. While Russ had testimony from friends and evidence of making purchases from several different store the evening of his wife's murder that did not allow for him to have been present at the time of the murder, Russ Faria was eventually convicted.
Several months after Russ Faria's conviction, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch published coverage of the story that revealed Hupp had kept the proceeds of the $150,000 life insurance policy, rather than establishing a trust for Betsy's daughters. It was also uncovered that Hupp had made conflicting statements to police about whether she entered Faria's home after driving Betsy home.
It was also uncovered that the district attorney prosecuting Russ Faria had been in a relationship with the captain of investigations for Lincoln County Sheriff's Office, who was an investigator in the case and testified against Russ Faria, a clear conflict in the case. When two jurors in Russ' murder case approached the media expressing concerns that all of this information had been suppressed, Russ' defense attorney successfully appealed and, upon admission of the new evidence, his client was exonerated and the investigation shifted to Hupp. Hupp has also been investigated in connection with the 2013 death of her mother, Shirley Neumann.
Liz Cole, president of NBC News Studios and Dateline executive producer issued a statement in which she said, "We have covered this story from all angles, including as an unwitting participant. Having been at the forefront of the true crime genre for so long, we know better than anyone that truth is often stranger than fiction, and with the twists and turns in this case, we saw a real opportunity to present it in a scripted format. We are so fortunate and pleased to be co-producing it with the brilliant storytellers at Blumhouse Television."
NBC News Studios launched in January 2020 to focus on the production of premium documentaries, docu-series and dramatic scripted programming and other content for emerging platforms, including streaming outlets. The new division replaced Peacock Productions, which had previously focused on developing true-cime series for cable networks.