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Variety, iHeartMedia to Co-Produce New Season of ‘Playback’ Film Podcast

Variety and iHeartMedia have announced a joint venture to co-produce “Playback,” a film-focused podcast hosted by Variety Awards Editor Kristopher Tapley, and relaunch the weekly show on iHeartRadio.

New “Playback” episodes will release every Thursday on iHeartRadio, featuring exclusive in-depth interviews with the talents behind many of today’s most popular movies.

As part of the collaboration, Variety and iHeartMedia will co-produce a 40-episode season which kicks off Thursday with heavy digital and social promotional support on both platforms. 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 March 4’s 90th Academy Awards ceremony, the first co-produced special edition episode of “Playback” features a curated compilation of Tapley’s interviews with Academy Award nominees. Guest 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. “It is exciting for us to bring our esteemed journalists like Kris Tapley to iHeartMedia’s mass consumer audience.”

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 own “In Contention” banner at Variety.

“We are excited to partner with Variety to bring this top film-focused podcast to the masses just in time for the Oscars,” said Adrienne Pabst, senior VP of connections for iHeartMedia. “iHeartMedia delivers more hours of live programming than any other media company. Our listeners rely on and trust us for the latest information from news and sports to music, entertainment and gossip, making us the perfect platform to relaunch ‘Playback’s’ engaging content to millions of listeners, many who are discovering podcasting for the first time.”

With iHeartRadio, listeners can access music and podcasts across more than 230 device platforms including in-car, in-home, on wearables, across gaming consoles and more.

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