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James Van Der Beek shows us what a celebrity podcast deal is worth

James Van Der Beek shows us what a celebrity podcast deal is worth


Plus, an embarrassment of fresh pods

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Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP via Getty Images

Hello! I am back in NYC after a whirlwind couple of days in Dallas last week. It was really great to meet so many people from the industry in person. My biggest takeaway from Podcast Movement week is how much the podcast format has evolved (for better or worse). Video podcasts were the hot topic, with lots of discussions on how to pivot to video and whether it’s necessary to do so. As one exec told me, video is not for everyone! It’s much easier to produce professional-quality audio than video, and a lot of podcast genres don’t actually lend themselves to video. I will be curious to see if it’s as big of a topic next year — maybe by then, creators will have tried and abandoned the practice.

After a big newsy week last week, with Twitter soft launching its podcast function and a whole lot of ~~discourse around Ben Shapiro’s surprise appearance at Podcast Movement, it’s somewhat calmer this week. Everyone is in late-summer lazy mode, and I am not mad at it — except for James Van Der Beek, who is feeling litigious. Let’s get into it.

James Van Der Beek is suing Stitcher after podcast talks break down

James Van Der Beek is not happy about the demise of his podcast deal with SiriusXM’s Stitcher; the Dawson’s Creek star is suing the network for breach of contract. The Blast first reported the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday. The suit alleges that his deal would have been worth $700,000 minimum for 40 episodes, plus 50 percent of the net ad revenue.

“[Van Der Beek] had other offers and potential partners to choose from in order to develop this project,” the filing said. “However, relying on the contractual agreement reached with Defendants, Plaintiff stopped negotiating with other buyers and affirmatively rejected those other offers (as well as other acting opportunities).”

According to the filing, it does not appear that there was a formal contract. Van Der Beek is suing based on terms agreed upon over the phone and email. It is not clear what led to the deal’s breakdown, but I am sure that (hopefully juicy!) details will emerge as the case rolls on. SiriusXM declined to comment.

Van Der Beek’s revenge aside, I personally love being able to get a number on a run-of-the-mill celebrity podcast deal (even if they are becoming less common in the current economic climate).

Dateline launches subscription on Apple Podcasts

Dateline NBC, which did true crime before it was cool, is launching a subscription on Apple Podcasts. Dateline Premium, which costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year, gives subscribers ad-free listening, early access to new episodes, and exclusive bonus content.

It’s not a surprise that Dateline went with Apple for its premium service since its podcast does particularly well on the platform (it is currently ranked at number 10, as opposed to number 40 on Spotify). Last year, Apple launched podcast subscriptions (from which it takes a 30 percent cut in the first year), and they are becoming more common. The company reports that more than a quarter of the top 100 shows on the platform now offer subscriptions.

Fresh Pods

We’ve got a whole slew of new shows coming out of Podcast Movement, and I wanted to highlight some of the splashier ones:

  • Video game designed Hideo Kojima, who has a pretty massive following, is Spotify’s latest podcast star. Brain Structure will be made available in English and Japanese and won’t be about gaming per se. The talk show will run the gamut from film and games to “art, philosophy, and the social landscape.”
  • NPR is launching a new dual-language podcast as well. In partnership with Futuro Media, the studio that just won the audio Pulitzer for Suave, soccer-focused The Last Cup will debut later this fall ahead of the FIFA World Cup in English and Spanish. NPR host Jasmine Garsd will use soccer to explore themes like identity, race, and class.
  • Crooked Media is making a leap into lifestyle content. Dare We Say, which debuted earlier this month, is hosted by Gen Z actresses Josie Totah, Alycia Pascual Peña, and Yasmine Hamady, who will dig into 20-something life, social media, LGBTQ issues, and a little bit of politics (it’s still Crooked, after all).
  • Pushkin Industries and Sony Music’s Somethin’ Else are partnering for a highbrow, art-world take on true crime with Death of an Artist, which will debut on September 8th. The show is an exploration of the mysterious 1985 death of buzzy Cuban-born artist Ana Mendieta. This is not for me, but I am sure it is for someone.
  • Another true crime pod! (Again, not for me). Tenderfoot and iHeart have partnered on Le Monstre, a 10-episode series on Belgian serial killer Marc Dutroux. The first two episodes are out now.
  • Björk having a podcast is not all that surprising, but I will admit that I did not expect it to be sponsored by Mailchimp. She really does zig when you think she’s gonna zag. Björk: Sonic Symbolism will be out Thursday.

That’s all from me! Have a great holiday weekend, and I’ll see you next week.