×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Shonda Rhimes Inks Podcast Deal With iHeartMedia

Hit-making TV writer and producer Shonda Rhimes is jumping into the podcast game in a much bigger way.

Rhimes’ Shondaland production company announced a three-year pact with iHeartMedia to launch Shondaland Audio, which will produce a slate of original podcasts to be released as part of the iHeartPodcast Network.

Rhimes will oversee development and Sandie Bailey, Shondaland chief digital and design officer, will manage day-to-day operations for the new podcast company.

“Podcasting continues to see tremendous growth and I’m excited to partner with iHeartMedia as Shondaland expands its storytelling journey into this medium which has seemed to usher in a unique sense of boldness, intimacy and connection,” Rhimes said in a statement. “With iHeartMedia we aim to share stories that are engaging, insightful, and reflect a robust world-view while staying true to the authentic storytelling voice that has become synonymous with Shondaland.”

Earlier this week, iHeartMedia announced that it was creating a comedy podcast venture with Will Ferrell.

Rhimes and Ferrell join the growing wave of interest in cashing in on audio content, alongside the likes of Conan O’Brien, President Barack and Michelle Obama and Oprah. In the U.S., the number of weekly podcast listeners has more than doubled in the past five years, from 28 million in 2015 to 62 million in 2019, according to a study by Edison Research and Triton Digital.

Shondaland has produced TV series “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Private Practice,” “Scandal,” “How To Get Away With Murder,” “For The People” and “Station 19” for ABC. In 2017, the company signed a long-term exclusive deal with Netflix for a slate of originals, including upcoming series “Bridgerton,” “Inventing Anna” and “Notes on Love.”

In 2017, Shondaland launched website Shondaland.com and later dipped its toes into podcasting with “Katie’s Crib,” a weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes in which she shared intimate conversations about the joys, pains and hilarity of new motherhood with guests. New episodes of “Katie’s Crib” will be part of the Shondaland Audio slate next year.

Shonda Rhimes is one of the greatest storytellers of our time,” said Conal Byrne, president of the iHeartPodcast Network. “We’re honored that she’s chosen the iHeartPodcast Network to extend her storytelling craft to audio, bringing a massive slate of new original podcasts to the world.”

In 2018, radio giant iHeartMedia stepped up its podcast push by acquiring HowStuffWorks for $55 million. The company’s ongoing slate of original podcasts include “Disgraceland,” “Chelsea Handler: Life will be the Death of Me,” “Noble Blood” and “Committed,” alongside more than 100 shows from its on-air radio talent like “Bobbycast” and “The Breakfast Club.” The shows shows are distributed on all major podcast platforms, including the iHeartRadio app, which hosts more than 280,000 podcast shows.

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • U.K. Producer Barcroft Studios Sold to

    U.K.-Based Producer Barcroft Studios Sold to Future in $30 Million Deal

    Barcroft Studios has been bought by Future in a £23.5 million ($30.1 million) deal. The U.K.-based production outfit specializes in factual fare for channels and platforms, and its own branded channels on the likes of YouTube. Future is a U.K.-listed print and online publishing and events business. Sam Barcroft will stay on as CEO at [...]

  • Tye Sheridan

    Tye Sheridan Starring in Survival Thriller 'Wireless' From Steven Soderbergh for Quibi

    Quibi has ordered another show with notable Hollywood talent attached: scripted series “Wireless” starring Tye Sheridan with Steven Soderbergh on board as executive producer. In the made-for-mobile-screens thriller, a smartphone has a central role. Sheridan (“Ready Player One,” “X-Men: Apocalypse”) plays a self-obsessed college student who is stranded in the Colorado mountains after he crashes [...]

  • Instagram

    Instagram Testing Hidden Like Counts Globally

    Like counts will be disappearing from Instagram all over the world starting this week: The Facebook-owned photo sharing service is extending its test of hiding like counts to all of its territories, Techcrunch was first to report Thursday morning. Instagram began hiding like counts for a subset of its users in Canada this spring, and [...]

  • Ted Sarandos - Netflix

    Ted Sarandos Says Disney Plus Launch Changes 'Nothing' for Netflix

    Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos claims he’s not getting distracted by huge competitors — like Disney — rumbling into the company’s streaming turf. The exec was asked what has changed for Netflix with the Nov. 12 launch of Disney Plus, which the Mouse House boasted as having signed up over 10 million users so [...]

  • Game Awards OrchestraThe Game Awards, Show,

    Game Awards 2019 to Play on 53 Cinemark Screens Alongside 'Jumanji: The Next Level'

    This year’s Game Awards, recognizing the top video games, creators and esports of 2019, is coming to the silver screen. In a three-way partnership, the Game Awards, Cinemark Theatres and Sony Pictures are teaming on a superticket program pairing the Dec. 12 live simulcast of the 2019 Game Awards in 53 Cinemark locations with a [...]

  • Lilly Burns Tony Hernandez

    Jax Media Soars by Amplifying Unique Voices of Auteur TV

    Jax Media has emerged during the past few years as one of television’s busiest and buzziest production companies. The New York-based company headed by four partners — Tony Hernandez, Lilly Burns, John Skidmore and Brooke Posch — has an enviable track record of scouting new voices and executing stylish shows on a less-than-stratospheric budgets. The [...]

  • Variety Digital New Leaders

    Execs From Endeavor Audio, Group Nine Among Those Leading the Way in Digital

    Every year, Variety seeks to identify the next generation of leaders in the entertainment business, looking for representatives in the creative community, film, TV, music and digital. This year’s group has a heavy New York focus: We selected executives from forward thinking companies such as Spotify, Group Nine and Endeavor Audio, as well as writers [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content