Kevin Hart declared that he plans to become a media mogul. Richard Plepler promised that the premium subscription TV business is not a zero-sum game. Dana Walden explained why she took the big TV gig at Disney. Dawn Ostroff spoke about the humbling process of learning how to produce for digital platforms after a long career in TV.
Conversations with those industry A-listers and dozens more have been featured on “Strictly Business,” Variety‘s weekly podcast that is marking its 100th installment with a retrospective episode featuring highlights from the past two years. The interview-driven podcast that debuted on April 3, 2018, is hosted by Variety business editor Cynthia Littleton and Variety co-editor-in-chief Andrew Wallenstein.
“Strictly Business” casts a wide net across media and entertainment, sitting down with power players and specialists who can provide insights about seismic shifts in the marketplace amid the haze of disruption and consolidation.
Interview subjects have ranged from boldface-name leaders — FX Networks’ John Landgraf, Quibi’s Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman, Viacom’s Bob Bakish, AMC Networks’ Josh Sapan, Showtime’s David Nevins, Entertainment Studios’ Byron Allen, National Geographic’s Gary Knell and Debmar-Mercury’s Mort Marcus and Ira Bernstein among them — to creative heavyweights such as Chuck Lorre, Tyra Banks, Steve Harvey, Michael Strahan and Jon Favreau.
The roster has included CMOs (MTV/VH1’s Jacqueline Parkes, HBO’s Chris Spadaccini), CTOs (WarnerMedia’s Jeremy Legg) and entrepreneurs with no shortage of ambition (Level Forward’s Abigail Disney and Adrienne Becker, New Cadence’s Jeff Valdez and National Lampoon’s Evan Shapiro). CNBC’s David Faber, ICM Partners’ Esther Newberg, WGA East executive director Lowell Peterson, Madison Wells Media’s Gigi Pritzker, Mass Appeal’s Peter Bittenbender, NBCUniversal’s Linda Yaccarino, Village Roadshow’s Steve Mosko and maverick investor Mark Cuban are also on the eclectic guest list.
The premiere episode of “Strictly Business” set the tone for candid conversations about an industry in the throes of transition. Comedian Hart spoke with Wallenstein about his vision for leveraging his current heat to build a lasting business of his own.
“The goal of being a mogul is a real one,” Hart declared. “I want to be a billionaire.”
Upcoming guests include CW chairman Mark Pedowitz, Gamechanger Films’ Effie Brown, ABC alternative programming chief Rob Mills and Cinetic Media’s John Sloss.
“Strictly Business” is Variety‘s weekly podcast featuring conversations with industry leaders about the business of media and entertainment. A new episode debuts each Wednesday and can be downloaded on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher and SoundCloud.
(Pictured: Discovery’s David Zaslav, Disney’s Dana Walden, Kevin Hart, Endemol Shine’s Cris Abrego and Revolt TV’s Roma Khanna)