×

‘Extra’ Host Maria Menounos’ YouTube Channel Gives TV Fans an Online Forum

AfterBuzz serves up live-streamed podcasts immediately after popular series air

As co-host of syndicated entertainment newsmagazine “Extra,” Maria Menounos talks a lot about TV. But she’s even chattier online.

The multihyphenate behind an upcoming reality show on Oxygen, a film and TV production company and a book series, as well as spokeswoman for brands like Pantene, has quietly built YouTube network AfterBuzz into a platform for fans to discuss what’s happening on their favorite shows.

The discourse comes in the form of video podcasts streamed live after an episode of a given series airs, with hosts breaking down plot points and doling out opinions on what they’ve seen. The result is essentially a number of sports-style wrap-up shows that now cover more than 200 series, with “Bad Girls Club,” “Homeland,” “Glee,” “Once Upon a Time” and “Scandal” among the five most popular each week.

“It’s about giving fans as close to an inside experience to their favorite shows as humanly possible,” Menounos says.

Launched in 2012 with her longtime partner, filmmaker Keven Undergaro, before similar show-specific versions like “Talking Dead” popped up on AMC, AfterBuzz celebrated its 5,000th episode in November. The venture is one of the reasons Menounos was tapped to serve as the Entertainment Matters Ambassador for the 2014 Intl. CES, taking place Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.

“Her successes through television, film and the Internet are a true testament to the importance of merging content and technology to create the next generation of entertainment,” said Karen Chupka, senior VP of events and conferences for the Consumer Electronics Assn.

AfterBuzz also has become an important piece of Menounos’ brand-building portfolio, especially as her career essentially sets her up to become the female version of Ryan Seacrest. She also hosts “Conversations With Maria Menounos,” an online talkshow featuring interviews with celebs like Vin Diesel, Avril Lavigne and Rob Lowe. She’ll use 650,000 Twitter followers and segments on “Extra” to attract viewers.

But with AfterBuzz, Menounos is capturing the kind of water-cooler commentary TV networks are spending heavily to promote on social media.

“I pay close attention to how anyone under 20 is communicating around media, and AfterBuzz is smart in taking advantage of that conversation and organizing it,” said Seth Green, who appeared on the 5,000th episode in support of his Fox series, “Dads.”

With episodes streaming on the AfterBuzz TV website, and available on YouTube, Stitcher and iTunes, the company’s podcasts are seeing audience levels grow to 20 million each week from more than 100 countries. “The younger demo is thankfully still consuming scripted and unscripted content, and we feel they always will,” Menounos said. “However, they are doing it online via their phones and other mobile devices.”

AfterBuzz’s variety of shows has enabled it to attract a broad audience that also has helped secure attractive ad deals with advertisers like Fox, ABC, Slimfast and Arm & Hammer. Having knowledgeable, dedicated hosts who work in Hollywood, and matching them with celebrities, cast members and showrunners for in-studio interviews has proved successful.

AfterBuzz recently added a third studio, with a goal of growing the profiles of its 200 onscreen hosts the way Oprah Winfrey helped launch the TV careers of personalities like Dr. Phil and Dr. Oz. Only this time, they’re more likely to become the next YouTube star.

Naturally, Menounos is using AfterBuzz to promote her own endeavors with an ad for her new book, “The EveryGirl’s Guide to Diet and Fitness,” and Undergaro’s comedy feature film “Adventures of Serial Buddies.”

Her appearance as a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” was also hyped on the site.

But more than any of her other endeavors, Afterbuzz complements the work for which she is known best. “The fact that Afterbuzz relates to TV and pop culture surely matches what I do as an entertainment host and reporter,” she says, but “digital broadcasting is also the future, so it’s a healthy space for me to invest in.”

More Digital

  • Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese

    Alibaba Buys 8% Stake in Chinese Video Platform Bilibili

    Alibaba has purchased an 8% stake in the Chinese online video platform Bilibili, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Bilibili is one of China’s top video streaming and entertainment platforms, with about 92 million monthly active users and 450 million page-views per day. Founded in 2009, it was listed on the NASDAQ last March. Alibaba’s [...]

  • Clevver-Logo

    Hearst Magazines Buys Clevver's Pop-Culture YouTube Channels After Defy's Demise

    Hearst Magazines has snapped up Clevver, a network of female-skewing lifestyle and pop-culture news YouTube channels that had been owned by now-defunct Defy Media. Clevver was left homeless after Defy’s sudden shutdown in November; its principals said at the time they were looking for a new home. Hearst Magazines sees a digital fit with Clevver’s [...]

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content