The team behind E!’s upcoming “LadyGang” talk series want to be the confidante you never had.
Inspired by their podcast of the same name, hosts Keltie Knight, Becca Tobin, and Jac Vanek, will explore the “taboo” with frank discussions about womanhood, the female brain, vices, and more. They’ll get candid with celebrity guests like Ed Sheeran, Jamie-Lynn Sigler, and “Queer Eye’s” Karamo Brown. Variety spoke with the three hosts ahead of the half-hour series premiere on Oct. 28.
How would you describe the format of “LadyGang”?
Keltie Knight: The first half of the show is we shoot it in my living room. Our celebrity guest comes. We have these awesome hilarious conversations, play a little game, have a little chat, and then we go out into the world with other celebrities and we investigate all the things that it means to be a woman. All episodes have a theme, anything from fame to vices, to lying, to motherhood, to the female brain. On one of our episodes, the female brain episode, Becca and I went into the “LadyGang Olympics,” with Adam Rippon teaching us figure skating routines in full costume. And then we competed against each other and discussed why women are so competitive with other women. It’s kind of this weird hybrid show, but it really stays true to the authentic nature of what has made the podcast so successful.
Becca Tobin: This is all authentic, nothing is scripted or pre-planned. We open up the topic and the guests get as candid as possible and we ourselves get really candid.
Will you touch more political topics like #MeToo?
Tobin: We love talking about real topics, and we find that the real topics are more along the lines of, “I feel like my marriage is falling apart, what am I supposed to do right now?” And just by sharing the struggles that we go through in our relationships, balancing our careers, whatever it is, the girls out there listening are feeling like, “This is so exciting because I feel less alone, I thought I was the only person going through this.” It’s more about just the journey of womanhood and less about all the noise of the outside world.
Knight: I was just speaking to one of our producers, and I was telling them about how I tried the Diva Cup for the first time. I never read the directions on how to get it out and I was so confused and I was like in an hour-long struggle-war with my lady parts trying to figure this out. I had a tweezer up there. And so that is the kind of stuff we’re going to talk about on the show — we’re going to go there. I may or may not filmed myself during this time with a video diary of it, but we’ll see.
Jac Vanek: We are those girls that will talk about what everybody else is too scared to talk about. So any taboo subject, anything that is cringey. [We] have these conversations that you’re not going to get on a normal talk show and maybe there are things that you’re too scared to even ask the doctor or friend about.
Tobin: We like to take the temperature on what’s hot in the pop-culture zeitgeist. So we try our hands at a lot of questionable trends. We’re not steaming our vaginas. Steaming your vagina is going to seem like a walk in the park when you watch “LadyGang.”
What was the development process of bringing the show to life?
Knight: A fun story is that E! approached us after our second episode of our podcast aired in 2015 and they had said, “We want to do something with you, maybe a digital series or something.” We said to them, “We’re going to go back and make this the most popular female podcast of all time and we’re going to come back to you in a year and we’re going to work on a TV show.” At the time we said that, we were kinda joking around, like ‘We’ll see!” and then over that year, “LadyGang” became just this juggernaut that was crazy popular with women. When E! came back around and they were like, “Okay, let’s make a show,” it was so exciting for us and the timing of the launch of the show couldn’t be more perfect.
As women in Hollywood and Hollywood adjacent, it’s been so fascinating and amazing to not only be stars of our own show, based on something that we created, but also be executive producers on the show and have a lot of that vision making in our hands. We sat down and we decided who we wanted to hire as our producers, and we have a 98% female producing team: everything from PAs to senior producers to segment producers. It’s really cool as a woman in 2018 to have that power.