In today’s podcast news roundup, Katy Perry’s retrospective about Elizabeth Taylor as “the original influencer” is set to hit next month; Remi Adeleke gets a two-series podcast deal with Tenderfoot TV; John Allen (aka MrBallen) hires Nick Witters as CEO of Ballen Studios and signs with UTA; and more.
“Elizabeth the First,” a 10-episode podcast series narrated by Katy Perry, will premiere on Monday, Oct. 3. The series comes from Imperative Entertainment, House of Taylor, which oversees the late actor’s estate, and Perry’s Kitty Purry Productions. “Elizabeth the First” will be available on all major podcast platforms and the Imperative Entertainment Premium Channel on Apple Podcast Subscriptions. Originally, it was slated to debut this spring.)
“Elizabeth the First” will feature stories from people closest to Taylor, who died in 2011, including through exclusive access to audio from the archives of the House of Taylor. Perry will cover topics including Taylor’s fight against the male-dominated movie studio system as a young actress; her successful negotiation for the first $1 million salary to star in 1963’s “Cleopatra” to become the highest-paid actress in the world at the time; Taylor’s groundbreaking announcement that she was getting help for alcoholism and drug abuse; and her activism promoting awareness of issues like HIV and AIDS.
“Koz,” a hybrid scripted/nonfiction podcast starring Taylor Kitsch, Kate Mara and Chris Diamantopoulos, debuts Thursday, Sept. 15, exclusively on Audible. The series tells the true story of real life Darrin Kozlowski, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms special agent who spent two decades undercover climbing the ranks of the most ruthless biker gangs in America. The series is written by Rob Fresco (“Ray Donovan”) and directed by Scott Ellis (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), produced by Untitled Entertainment and executive produced by At Will Media’s Will Malnati, Kitsch and Fresco. Listen to “Koz” at this link.
Sony Music Entertainment, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and The Home Edit announced the launch of original podcast series, “Best Friend Energy,” hosted by The Home Edit co-founders and bestselling authors Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. The weekly chat series will serve as “a place for friends to come together, deep-dive into trending topics, vent about frustrations and laugh at life’s absurdities,” per the producers. The first episode will premiere Tuesday, Oct. 11, on all major audio platforms. “Best Friend Energy” is produced by Ben Oddo and executive produced by Serita Wesley at Somethin’ Else, part of Sony Music Entertainment.
C13Originals, the documentary division of Audacy’s Cadence13 podcast studio, debuted the first season of true-crime anthology series “Wolves Among Us” on Sept. 14 with the release of the first two episodes. Season 1 of the series explores the story of Dr. Larry Lavin, an Ivy League-educated dentist in Philadelphia beloved by his community — who also happened to be the largest cocaine kingpin on the Eastern Seaboard from 1978 to 1984. “Wolves Among Us, Season 1: The Larry Lavin Story” is a production of C13Originals, in association with Matt Davis and Steve Seidel, executive produced by Chris Corcoran, and co-written by Lloyd Lochridge of C13Originals, along with Davis and Seidel.
Candle Media’s Exile Content Studio, in collaboration with Trojan Horse Media and iHeartMedia’s My Cultura podcast network, launched podcast series “More Than a Movie: American Me,” on Thursday, Sept. 15, with the first two episodes. The 12-episode audio documentary delves into the true story of Edward James Olmos’ 1992 cult film classic, “American Me,” and the legacy the controversial film left behind. “More Than a Movie” is hosted by producer and writer Alex Fumero (HBO Max’s “Menudo: Forever Young”) and produced by journalist Nigel Duara. The series will be available on the iHeartRadio app and all major podcast platforms.
Content studio Project Brazen and public media organization PRX will premiere “People Like Us,” a six-part podcast hosted from Beirut by journalist and author Kim Ghattas, on Monday, Oct. 3. “People Like Us” is an interview series about the Middle East for a global audience, “recasting the region in a new light and showing how it connects with major themes in current affairs and culture happening in the world today,” according to Project Brazen. New episodes will be released Mondays followed by two bonus episodes. The podcast will be available free to listeners across all major podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts and Amazon Music. “People Like Us” is executive produced by Project Brazen co-founders Tom Wright and Bradley Hope, as well as former BBC producer Jane Beresford.
Exactly Right Media launched true-crime podcast “Buried Bones,” which dissects some of history’s most dramatic cases through a 21st century lens, on Wednesday, Sept. 14. The series is co-hosted by retired investigator Paul Holes and journalist Kate Winkler Dawson. On the first episode, they explore the death in 1900 of Manhattan millionaire William Marsh Rice — who is believed to have been murdered by his valet.
Writer-director-actor Remi Adeleke (“The Plane,” “The Terminal List,” “Ambulance,” Fox’s “Special Forces: The Ultimate Test”) landed a two-series podcast deal with Tenderfoot TV. Both show are set for release in 2023 on all podcast platforms. The firt project is “The Unexpected Podcast,” a true-crime narrative of the stories of human trafficking, including sex trafficking, organ harvesting and forced labor. Adeleke will host the series, which was inspired by his short film titled “The Unexpected,” which he wrote, directed and produced. That was adapted into drama-thriller film “Unexpected Redemption” which is set to debut on Sept. 30; the film is produced by Alan Siegel of G-Base and is Adeleke’s feature cinematic directorial debut. Adeleke’s other project with Tenderfoot TV is “B1 Butcher,” a scripted fictional podcast based on the hunt for Africa’s most notorious serial killer and black market villain. This podcast series is produced in partnership with John Dryden and Brett Neichin of Lights Out.
Ballen Studios, the newly formed content company by podcaster John Allen — better known to his millions of fans as MrBallen — announced former William Morris Endeavor and Night Inc. executive Nick Witters was hired as CEO. The “MrBallen Podcast: Strange, Dark and Mysterious Stories” launched this past February. Ballen Studios also signed with UTA to work across a number of existing projects in various stages of production and development. The agency already has brokered several adaptations of existing MrBallen intellectual property.
SiriusXM announced a multiyear deal with “The School of Greatness,” which gives SiriusXM exclusive rights to distribution and ad sales for the podcast hosted by Lewis Howes. The weekly show “shares inspiring interviews from the most successful people on the planet — world-renowned leaders in business, entertainment, sports, science, health, and literature — to inspire listeners to unlock their inner greatness and live their best life,” according to SiriusXM. Since its inception in 2013, “The School of Greatness” has been downloaded more than 500 million times and regularly charts as among the top health and fitness shows on Apple Podcasts.
Obsessed Network, the true-crime podcast company behind “True Crime Obsessed,” announced the inaugural Obsessed Fest, billed as “the ultimate true crime-filled weekend for fans of the genre.” The three-day festival will take place from Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio. Daytime programming during Obsessed Fest will comprise panels, Q&As, games, meet and greets, live podcast tapings (including for “RedHanded,” “Strange and Unexplained With Daisy Eagan” and “Let’s Go to Court”) and other activities. Talent appearing at the festival will include Patrick Hinds and Gillian Pensavalle of “True Crime Obsessed,” Rabia Chaudry, author of “Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After Serial,” Damien Echols of the West Memphis 3 case, Payne Lindsey of “Up and Vanished,” Alaina and Ash of “Morbid,” Ellyn Marsh and Joey Taranto of “Obsessed With: Disappeared,” Maggie Freleng, Amber Hunt, Daisy Eagan, Brandi Egan, Kristin Caruso, Bob Ruff, Aaron and Justin of “Generation Why,” Rebecca Lavoie, Kevin Flynn, Tim Pilleri, Tim Reenstierna and Rebekah Sebastian. General admission tickets start at $175 and tickets for individual events are priced between $40-$75; more information is at this link.