iHeartMedia, the No. 1 commercial podcast publisher globally, and Shondaland Audio, a division of Shondaland, founded by award-winning television writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, announced the division’s upcoming lineup. Co-Produced with iHeartRadio, three new original podcasts will launch as part of the partnership, which was first announced and formed late last year. “You Down?” with Obama’s Other Daughters, “Criminalia” and “Go Ask Ali” will debut this month on iHeartRadio and everywhere else podcasts are available. As a result of GroupM’s sponsorship deal—the first for the iHeart and Shondaland Audio partnership—the largest global media investment network’s clients have exclusive access to the entire slate of original podcasts.
Also announced were future shows that span a variety of genres and formats including: “#Matter,” “American Coup,” “Black Girl Lost,” and multiple companion shows for Shondaland’s ABC and Netflix series, including “Bridgerton” for Netflix. The lineup joins previously launched podcast “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes, which joined the slate in its third season this past May. The show will release a new episode on August 13th featuring actress Gabrielle Union.
“Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse and developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio,” said Conal Byrne, President of the iHeartPodcast Network. “The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled, and we’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.”
Rhimes will oversee development of the Shondaland Audio slate with Chief Design and Digital Media Officer, Sandie Bailey, who will manage day-to-day operations as the company introduces incredible talent and stories to hundreds of millions of podcast listeners across the country.
“Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers: deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership,” said Bailey. “iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio, and I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.”
Progressive clients including T-Mobile and Unilever have signed on as brand partners of the upcoming slate of podcasts within the exclusive GroupM sponsorship.
“We’re excited to be a first and only partner in support of the rich and diverse perspectives and stories that are signature to Shondaland. This partnership serves as added reinforcement of our priority to elevate multicultural voices—audiences and programming talent—in direct connection with our previously announced Multicultural Marketplace,” said Susan Schiekofer, GroupM’s Chief Digital Investment Officer. “We understood from the outset of these discussions at the end of last year how beneficial a deal like this could be for our clients. The unique slate-wide ownership position allows us to create custom integrations for clients across so many different opportunities. We’re looking forward to helping bring this audio slate to life.”
In 2017, Shondaland began broadening its digital footprint with the launch of Shondaland.com and later entered podcast territory with “Katie’s Crib,” featuring Katie Lowes welcoming guests for open and honest conversations about everything parenting, from fertility and postpartum life to the ups and downs of raising tiny humans.
Shondaland Audio Shows Releasing This Month Include:
“You Down?” with Obama’s Other Daughters – Hosted by four members of the all Black, all female comedy troupe known as Obama’s Other Daughters: Maame-Yaa Aforo, Ashley Holston, Yazmin Monet Watkins and Shakira Ja’nai Paye. These hilarious and opinionated friends come together for laughs and brutal honesty in this talk-show style podcast featuring fun, irreverent discussions as they offer their unique perspective and comedic take on all things culture. The group also executive produces, writes and stars in Comedy Central Digital series, and produces and performs under Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Network banner.
“Criminalia” – In this podcast, veteran Holly Frey (cohost of the award-winning podcast “Stuff You Missed in History Class”) and co-host Maria Trimarchi (writer, journalist and researcher) ask the question “what can we learn from the criminals and crimes of the past?” “Criminalia” is a dark, yet playful look at historical true crime.
“Go Ask Ali” – Hosted by actress and New York Times best-selling author, Ali Wentworth who has become a comedic authority on wading through all the chaos that is modern life. Ali speaks with doctors, experts and friends about “How to grow a teenager in a pandemic” and “how to grow a relationship in a pandemic.”
Upcoming Shondaland Audio Show Details Include:
“#Matter” – This scripted drama will be written, produced and directed by Dylan Brown (writer/producer, “Raising Kanan” and “Mac and Devin go to High School”), and told through the lens of a reporter looking back at a case of police brutality, as a father intervenes in his teenage son’s beating and later finds himself, his badly hurt son and a wounded cop barricaded in a nearby restaurant as they all struggle to stay alive. Set to launch this fall.
“American Coup” – A scripted series from writers Aaron Tracy (writer, “Law and Order: SVU”) and Andrew Lenchewski (co-creator, “Royal Pains”) that explores the incredible, untold story of Edith Wilson, the woman who hijacked the Oval Office. As a writing team, Aaron and Andrew have sold original TV pilots to USA Network, Freeform, Lionsgate, and Alcon Entertainment. Set to launch this winter.
“Black Girl Lost” – This documentary-style podcast, produced by award-winning filmmaker and writer dream hampton and hosted by award-winning journalist Yesha Callahan, looks at the complexities behind the growing numbers of missing Black women and girls. Asking the questions who takes them and why? But most importantly, does anyone care about Black girls lost? The show will also feature thought-provoking interviews around a number of these unsolved missing persons cases. Set to launch early next year.
More details will be released at a later date on future Shondaland Audio podcasts including multiple companion shows for Shondaland’s ABC and Netflix series, including “Bridgerton” for Netflix.
In addition to the shows announced today, listeners can expect a steady stream of new podcasts from Shondaland Audio over the next couple of years.
iHeartMedia (NASDAQ: IHRT) is the number one audio company in the United States, reaching nine out of 10 Americans every month – and with its quarter of a billion monthly listeners, has a greater reach than any other media company in the U.S. The company’s leadership position in audio extends across multiple platforms, including more than 850 live broadcast stations in over 160 markets nationwide; through its iHeartRadio digital service available across more than 250 platforms and 2,000 devices; through its influencers; social; branded iconic live music events; other digital products and newsletters; and podcasts as the #1 commercial podcast publisher. iHeartMedia also leads the audio industry in analytics, targeting and attribution for its marketing partners with its SmartAudio product, using data from its massive consumer base. Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.
Shondaland is the pioneering storytelling company founded by award-winning writer and producer Shonda Rhimes. The company has produced the television series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal,” “How To Get Away With Murder,” “For The People” and “Station 19” for ABC. Through the company’s unprecedented shift to streaming, it is producing content exclusively for Netflix including upcoming series “Bridgerton,” “Inventing Anna” and “Notes on Love.” In recent years the company has expanded into other divisions including launching the website Shondaland.com, part of the Hearst Digital Networks, and Shondaland Audio, part of the iHeartPodcast Network. The company is rooted in the ideals of creating content that changes culture, changes perceptions and writes the future.