Why so many celebrities are starting podcasts

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Sharon Osbourne has decided to recant. After getting the start of The speech in March for clashing on-screen (and off) with co-host Sheryl Underwood, the 69-year-old will launch her own show on PodcastOne later this quarter that will feature “interviews with celebrities and people Ordinary,” as well as an even more unfiltered version of his former talk show.

“It’s kind of a gift to be able to talk about things you care about and to be able to chat with whoever you want,” says Osbourne, who still believes she was unjustly silenced for standing up for Piers Morgan and her colleagues. polarizing comments about the Duchess. of Sussex. When asked if she would address her controversial final days on The speech which included accusations of racially insensitive comments, Osbourne says, “I’m not done talking about cancel culture.”

Whether it’s reviving (or rehabilitating) a career, getting behind the scenes of a popular TV show, or swapping stories with another actor, podcasting has become the go-to answer for celebrities. looking for some independence. Inexpensive to make and even easier to get started, podcasting is giving the likes of Ellen Pompeo, Dakota Johnson, Seth Rogen and John Stamos a chance to connect with their fans in ways they never have. had before.

About a third of Americans — or 104 million people — regularly listen to podcasts, with comedy-themed shows ranking among the most popular. Comedian and former fear factor host Joe Rogan is currently the most listened to podcaster in the country, with office ladies, hosted by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, also making it into the top 10. Meanwhile, Rogan’s man show his predecessor Adam Carolla cracked the top 50 of 2020 with his self-titled podcast launched in 2009. New comedy and celebrity entries like SmartLess (a year-long podcast hosted by Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes) and Literally! With Rob Lowe are rapidly gaining audience and buzz.

What’s in it for the celebrities? Money, for starters. Hosts receive salaries or share profits from advertisers, who have spent $1 billion on podcasts this year due to their ability to reach well-educated and affluent listeners. Expert Armchair, which Dax Shepard hosts with actress Monica Padman, grossed $9 million in 2020. That same year, Rogan landed an astonishing $100 million pact from Spotify for facilitating men’s discussions about mixed martial arts. , hunting and all that he hates about the mask and the vaccination mandates.

In addition to a stable income, podcasts also provide celebrities with creative freedom. In October, Rogen launched Storytime with Seth Rogen for Stitcher, a series that invites other actors to share a great story about just about anything they’ve been through. “It’s helpful if it’s something that’s impacted your life or your work,” Rogen told EW in October. “But that doesn’t mean it can’t be a story of s—your pants at Disney World.”

Messy or not, the industry will take all the stories it can get: SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein – whose company acquired Stitcher – thinks we’re only in the second round of the podcast game, with nearly 2.4 million podcasts available to listeners. in 2021 (although only 22%, or 552,000, are active with new episodes). “Anytime you see the intersection between creative freedom and economics start to work,” he says, “you’re going to find celebrities paying attention.”

Fans are also observant and don’t always like what they hear. In his second episode of Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo, the actress has learned that radical honesty isn’t always the best policy. After telling the story of his confrontation with Denzel Washington on the set of Grey’s Anatomy in 2016 (“I was like, ‘Listen, my mom — uh, this is my show!'”), the actress got bombarded on the internet by people calling her “privileged” and ” have right”. Carolla notes: “It’s hard because if you talk freely for two hours a day, you’ll end up creating some negative publicity on occasion. I’ve definitely had my share of that.”

So talkative celebrities, beware: podcasting can be easy money, but only if you have a lasting and interesting point of view. “It’s hard to deal with how you look when you’re podcasting,” adds Carolla. “Now there’s a business model for it when there really wasn’t used to. I would say the same to a random 19-year-old I met I would say to an A-lister Do a podcast, provided you have something to say. If you don’t, don’t bother.

A version of this story appears in Weekly entertainmentFebruary issue, on newsstands January 21 and available to order here. Don’t forget to subscribe for more interviews and exclusive photos, only in EW.

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