Variety and IHeartMedia, the leading audio company in America, on Thursday announced a joint venture to coproduce “Playback,” a film-focused podcast hosted by Variety awards editor Kris Tapley, and relaunch the weekly podcast on IHeartRadio, the free digital music, podcast and live-streaming radio service. New episodes will release every Thursday featuring exclusive in-depth interviews with the talents behind top and current films. The 40-episode season launched Thursday.
IHeartMedia will also produce custom vignettes that will air across its digital network and broadcast radio stations, introducing the podcast to its more than a quarter-of-a-billion monthly listeners across the country. In anticipation of this weekend’s 90th Academy Awards ceremony, the first coproduced special edition episode of “Playback” features Tapley’s “best of” interview moments with Academy Award nominees. Highlights include Jordan Peele, Daniel Kaluuya, Kumail Nanjiani, Dee Rees, James Mangold, Willem Dafoe, Christopher Nolan, Guillermo del Toro, Sam Rockwell, Martin McDonagh, Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Gary Oldman, and Aaron Sorkin. Upcoming guests will also include Ava DuVernay on March 8 and David Oyelowo on March 15.
“Aligning ourselves with the premiere media and entertainment company with the largest audience reach across digital and radio provides a tremendous opportunity for Variety,” said Michelle Sobrino-Stearns, Variety’s group publisher and chief revenue officer.
Tapley has covered the film industry and entertainment awards landscape since 2001. Formerly the editor at large for HitFix.com, his work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Times of London and Los Angeles Magazine. He also surveys the Oscar and Emmy seasons under his “In Contention” banner at Variety. Variety, like WWD, is owned by Penske Media Corp.