Shondaland Audio, the alliance formed last year between television hitmaker Shonda Rhimes and iHeartMedia, is bringing actress, producer, and equal rights activist Laverne Cox to podcasting. She will host a series tentatively titled The Laverne Cox Show that is slated to debut in February.
The show will feature Cox – best known for her role in “Orange Is the New Black” – in conversations with guests who provoke thought and potentially new outlooks. The producers said the show was created to help foster perspectives that might inspire new behavior in listeners as they along with Cox undergo a “spiritual makeover” together. The podcast is an extension of Cox’s work in the upcoming “Inventing Anna” series that Rhimes is creating for Netflix.
"I'm thrilled to be continuing and expanding my relationship with Shondaland by doing my first podcast with Shonda's amazing team along with iHeartRadio,” said Cox in a statement. “I can't wait for everyone to hear the incredibly interesting conversations I have had with my guests.”
Sandie Bailey, Shondaland Chief Design and Digital Media Officer calls Cox a “one-of-a-kind talent” that will fit right into what their Shondaland Audio division aims for.
“We all know her onscreen talents and her role as a producer, but this show affords Laverne the opportunity to produce something very personal,” said Bailey. “She's clearly interested in engaging her listeners and herself in ways she hasn't before. And we’re committed to supporting her in doing just that.”
Co-produced with the iHeartPodcast Network, The Laverne Cox Show will join a lineup of other podcasts under the Shondaland Audio slate. The companies began rolling out their first shows in August and more are on deck. Early next year, Shondaland Audio and iHeart will also premiere a companion podcast to Shondaland’s regency era series “Bridgerton,” debuting on Netflix on Christmas Day. Also coming in the new year will be a podcast from producer Dream Hampton, as well as Shondaland Audio’s first foray into scripted podcasts with the podcasts titled #Matter and American Coup. Shondaland Audio’s first podcast, Katie’s Crib, hosted by “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes is currently in its third season.
Rhimes is the creative force behind hit TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder, Private Practice, and Station 19 and that brings with it a level of interest by advertisers. Rhimes has said she sees podcasting as not only a new way to tell stories using new formats and genres, but also as a way to tap into the synergistic opportunities to connect its various content divisions such as its streaming partnership with Netflix.
GroupM has struck a sponsorship deal giving clients of its media investment network exclusive access to the entire slate of original podcasts. GroupM said it has already secured advertising commitments from its clients T-Mobile and Unilever to support the shows in the Shondaland Audio portfolio.