Top Story Tonight!


“History’s Top Story Tonight!” revisits great moments in history as if the modern media existed at the time—cable news, Twitter, Instagram, talk radio, reality TV, even the dark web of conspiracy theories.

Imagine retelling the story of Cleopatra as the original Kim Kardashian on Instagram. Think Henry VIII as the king who wants to Make England Great Again. #MEGA!

You get the idea. This podcast brings history to life—warts and all—in the modern 24/7 news cycle.

SEASON ONE: THE MAYFLOWER!

The incredible and unlikely story of the Mayflower is nearly 400 years old. Only 50 of the original 102 passengers survived the first winter. The pilgrims landed in the wrong spot, they were freezing to death, but, fortunately, the local tribe befriended them. The tribe’s reasons may have been both humane...and political.

The Mayflower’s risky voyage to the New World involves much more than a few Englishmen and women seeking religious freedom. It’s a story filled with danger and drama, violence and death, plots and misunderstandings, finally ending with a celebration.

What really happened?

Drawing on the writings of two men who came over on the Mayflower, William Bradford and Edward Winslow, as well as research done by Nathaniel Philbrick in his excellent book, “Mayflower, a Story of Courage, Community, and War”, we retell this early history of America... as breaking news!

Imagine cable news, talk radio, internet apps, reality television, and even a Broadway musical in 1620. Hear as both the Europeans and the Native Americans “cover” this story—the mistakes made, the risks involved, the greed, courage, death, and romance.

What could go wrong? #FakeNews!


Available on:

Trailer for Season 1


Episode 1: Voyage of the Damned

The Mayflower!

Episode 1: Voyage of the Damned

It’s July, 1620, and the Puritan “Separatists” are a group of Christians on the lam from the British crown hiding out in Holland. They decide it’s time to head west to the New World. The only problem—they have no cash, and so they seek investors. The investors demand more than just a return on their money. They force the “Pilgrims” to take dozens of other people with them. It’s a disaster from the get-go. We’ve got you covered on both sides of the Atlantic with breaking news!


Episode 2: A Bad Rap

The Mayflower!

Episode 2: A Bad Rap

The Pilgrims have arrived to the New World, but have yet to get off the ship. There is mayhem on the Mayflower, as the “Separatists” are at odds with the “Strangers,” the other people on board sent over by the trip’s investors. Both sides finally agree on a governing set of rules called The Mayflower Compact. Meantime, a small group leave the ship to begin exploring the local territory. They steal corn, a crime caught on tape by “Native America’s Most Wanted.” The local Pokanoket tribe debate the fate of these newcomers on talk radio.


Episode 3: Pilgrims’ Progress

The Mayflower!

Episode 3: Pilgrims’ Progress

Finally, they get off the ship! They also have their first encounter with the Native Americans. It does not go well. At least the Pilgrims have chosen a place to settle, in an area near an (alleged) outcropping they (allegedly) decide to call Plymouth Rock. Young Priscilla Mullens pines for John Alden, a member of the Mayflower crew, hoping he notices her. However, it’s hard to be romantic when dozens of people are dying around you.


Episode 4: Indigenous Indignation

The Mayflower!

Episode 4: Indigenous Indignation

As Captain Myles Standish starts to build out the Plymouth Colony, the Pilgrims have yet to meet any native peoples. That suddenly changes when a tall, naked man walks into the colony to introduce himself, just as Standish is trying to get the hang of the “Instra-granite Stories” app. Then we meet Massasoit, leader of the Pokanoket, who hits the Sunday morning news programs to propose a deal with the English, one that will Make Pokanoket Great Again.


Episode 5: A Love Story

The Mayflower!

Episode 5: A Love Story

If “The Bacherlorette” existed in 1620 in New England, a young woman would not have had many choices. Listen as the teenage Priscilla Mullens tries to choose between two Mayflower survivors who pursue her. We take a classic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “The Courtship of Miles Standish,” and ruin it with reality TV.


The Finale: Giving Thanks...?

The Mayflower!

The Finale: Giving Thanks...?

In the finale, the Pilgrims make peace with other local tribes after responding to threats with a brutal display of force. Meantime, stock market traders believe the investors back in England will turn a profit on this venture after all. Then the most successful daytime TV talk show host in history helps everyone celebrate Thanksgiving, with a surprise gift for the audience.