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“The Playboy Interview,” long one of the signature editorial features of Playboy magazine, is getting the podcast treatment.
Playboy Enterprises and Audio Up, the podcast studio founded by Jared Gutstadt and co-founded by actor Dennis Quaid, will launch a scripted podcast based on Playboy‘s archive of nearly 500 interviews. The format will see actors re-enacting some of the magazine’s most iconic conversations, with each one-hour episode based on an interview from the archives.
“It lends itself well to the medium of audio, which is so much more intimate, and you feel like you are really connected to the people you are hearing from,” Rachel Webber, Playboy Enterprises’ CMO and head of corporate strategy tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Audio is the perfect format to bring this franchise to life, for how people consume today.”
The initial run of eight episodes is in development now with a planned debut of early 2021. The companies are currently deciding which interviews to feature, and are in conversation with talent to voice them. Some of the interviews being discussed for the treatment include writer Alex Haley’s conversations with Malcom X (1963) and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1965), and Playboy contributor David Scheff’s conversations with John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1980) and Betty Freidan (1992).
Audio Up chief creative officer Jimmy Jellinek says that the inspiration for the format came from another historic interview.
“I remember when Frost/Nixon came out, and if you have seen Frost/Nixon, the entire basis of the stage play and then the film is based on the transcript of David Frost’s famous interview with Richard Nixon,” Jellinek says. “It was so impactful, and so historically important and urgent, that it made for fantastic drama, the words on the transcript leapt off the page and created the basis for a script.”
Jellinek adds that the two companies have ambitions to follow the success of Frost/Nixon and turn the interviews into a limited TV series, or even a stage play, if the podcast resonates.
While distribution plans are still in the works, the companies say they expect the podcast to be advertising-supported at launch.
“The opportunity to go back and take these interviews and turn them into scripts, to bring them to life, is the ultimate opportunity. It is like being a kid in a candy store,” Jellinek says, adding that “the entire history of the 20th and 21st century, every person that mattered from a political, artistic, cultural standpoint, sat for the Playboy Interview.”
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