‘Pod Meets World’ and Extra TV Rewatch Podcasts: Why Do Followers Love?

A brand new sort of podcast is permitting TV followers to expertise their favourite episodes of “The Workplace,” “Boy Meets World,” and extra in an entire new method.

“Peak TV” is ubiquitous as of late, however popular culture could also be approaching a brand new saturation level: Peak TV rewatch podcast.

The quickly rising audio style has skyrocketed previously few years, with standard exhibits like “The Workplace,” “New Lady,” and plenty of extra dissected episode-by-episode in weekly podcasts hosted by the unique exhibits’ stars. These podcasts are huge enterprise for firms like iHeart, the place advert income is up, reportedly near 80 p.c, due to an ideal storm of nostalgia, exploration, and plain previous love of TV.

Will Pearson, Chief Working Officer of iHeart Podcasts, remembers being in a number of conversations about potential rewatch podcasts when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It was one of many co-hosts of “Faux Medical doctors, Actual Buddies,” a “Scrubs” rewatch podcast, who advised they kick this style into excessive gear.

“It was Zach [Braff] that pointed it out,” Pearson instructed IndieWire by way of Zoom. “He was saying, ‘Individuals are caught at dwelling. Individuals are depressing. Folks want one thing to latch on to, to consider happier occasions, to snicker at.’ And he was completely proper.”

Since then, the style has exploded, to place it mildly. The TV rewatch podcast touchdown web page on iHeart’s web site has every thing from “The Wire” to “Avatar: The Final Airbender,” hosted by former solid members revisiting the exhibits. “Actual Medical doctors, Faux Buddies” is within the Prime 100 podcasts on iHeart, and it’s up there. Due to the advantage of distance, these pods may be fairly dishy: Weekly recaps of podcast episodes present interview-level soundbites and usually present up as information gadgets on popular culture websites.

“It was most likely after placing out two or three exhibits within the style that we realized that there was, perhaps not an limitless starvation for these, however definitely a big need for exhibits like this, exhibits that folks might hook up with. And that’s why we jumped in,” Pearson stated.

Prime rewatch podcasts are doing nicely into the thousands and thousands in month-to-month downloads and as many figures in advert income, Pearson stated. He and his group are looking out for exhibits that may not solely ship these numbers, however achieve this long run (not like genres like true crime, which frequently assure solely a season’s price of listening and revenue).

“What you’ve acquired is a present the place you’ve got a expertise that’s a star in their very own proper,” he defined, breaking down the successful method. “They’re constructing this unbelievable relationship with a listener, and advertisers love that as a result of they constructed a real relationship, they usually’re getting an opportunity to have advertisements learn by anyone that these followers adore.”

Two young men in hospital scrubs, one in green and one in blue, looking shocked; still from

Donald Faison and Zach Braff in “Scrubs”

©ABC/Courtesy Everett Assortment

The newest hit within the burgeoning style? This summer season’s debut of “Pod Meets World,” a “Boy Meets World” rewatch podcast hosted by stars Danielle Fishel, Rider Sturdy, and Will Friedle. Moreso than simply episode recaps, it affords an intimate have a look at the solid’s expertise as younger actors, the ‘90s tv local weather, and loads of therapeutic dialog for themselves and for followers.

“The podcast is in truth not that a lot totally different than what our dinner conversations are after the cons,” Fishel instructed IndieWire by way of Zoom along with her cohosts. “When folks inform us that the podcast feels snug to them as a result of it seems like they’re sitting with associates, the explanation for that’s since you’re listening to a few very shut associates have sincere dialogue, and we’re simply permitting folks to report it.”

Pearson says “Pod Meets World” is doing “exceptionally nicely” (it’s one of many seven-figure obtain exhibits), and recollects many on his employees placing absolute religion in its success, given the love folks nonetheless maintain for this system. “It’s the proper solid members, it’s a implausible present, and it actually faucets into the correct of nostalgia that simply makes folks really feel all heat and fuzzy. [They] can’t wait to hearken to the following episode.”

He’s not incorrect. Not one of the “Pod” trio have watched the present because it aired, so it’s a homecoming in addition to an opportunity to have a look at the favored teen present by a brand new lens. As a ‘90s sitcom, it wasn’t dissected on the identical degree again when it aired (there weren’t precisely TV recaps on the TGIF lineup in 1997), and it permits the hosts to weave their fondness for the present into important evaluation for a deeply satisfying listening expertise.

It helps that Fishel, Sturdy, and Friedle have stayed in Hollywood however largely moved away from on-camera performing; Fishel starred in Disney’s “Lady Meets World” however works primarily as a director now, whereas Sturdy focuses on writing and Friedle on voice performing (he additionally cohosts “I Hear Voices” with “Kim Doable” costar Christy Carlson Romano). As such, they join with totally different features of the manufacturing; Fishel stays awed by the props division, whereas Sturdy praises story beats and joke use within the writing.

Sturdy first advised the idea to his costars after a conference in 2018, earlier than the rewatch podcast phenomenon exploded. Again then, executives weren’t positive how one can obtain the pitch.

“The businesses didn’t but know what to do,” Friedle recalled. “We really went and had conferences with firms that had been like, ‘Nicely, are you going to be watching it as you’re speaking about it?’ We didn’t know what to do and neither did they.”

Now, Pearson’s group has a number of producers who’ve develop into consultants particularly in honing rewatch podcast. They work intently with expertise and different producers to search out the present’s voice, strengths, and construction. For “Pod Meets World” meaning the actors share episode remembrances in addition to interview different solid members and behind-the-scenes gamers.

“The hot button is to not overthink it and to not over produce it,” Pearson stated. “Which might sound like I’m minimizing what the producers do, but it surely’s really fairly the other of that. There’s an actual ability in creating one thing {that a} listener feels is only a actually laid-back dialog.”

“Pod Meets World” is an alchemical mixture on the coronary heart of the rewatch podcast motion. These will not be solid mates who haven’t seen one another in years, however shut associates who’ve recognized one another since childhood. They share tales they’ve instructed earlier than, however most of the anecdotes on “Pod Meets World” are new for followers, and generally even between the hosts (like Fishel’s latest revelation a few long-ago crush on Sturdy). It’s one of many older exhibits being dissected within the medium — others embody “Seinfeld,” “Saved by the Bell,” and “90210”— and as Fishel notes, a few of the actors had been literal kids throughout filming, which units their expertise aside.

Five teens in '90s casualwear, leaning back against a brick wall and smiling; promotional image for

Will Friedle, Ben Savage, Danielle Fishel, Rider Sturdy, and Matthew Lawrence forward of “Boy Meets World” Season 5 in 1997.

Buena Vista Footage/Courtesy Everett Assortment

Rewatch podcasts are additionally a chance for the folks behind these exhibits to reply to criticism on their very own phrases whereas offering private anecdotes and extra context — moderately than being caught unawares by an interview, fan interplay, or intrepid social media consumer. In 2020, “Boy Meets World” star Trina McGee posted on Twitter that she skilled racism whereas engaged on the present; the ensuing conversations between her and her costars (whom she has since forgiven) had been early seeds of the form of unpacking “Pod Meets World” now engages in biweekly. McGee is already slated to co-host a future ep of the pod.

“We’re attempting to develop as folks too, and on the identical time unpacking all of the issues we went by collectively,” Friedle stated. “A number of the conditions didn’t age nicely and it’s the conversations now we have round people who I discover probably the most entertaining.”

“[Podcasting] does lend itself to a fairly sturdy connection between the host and the listener,” Pearson stated. “We see it fairly ceaselessly, and it’s a special form of relationship than typical form of celeb to fan relationship… they nearly really feel this connection like they’re associates with the individual that they’re listening to. We watch repeatedly: A fan will stroll up and simply strike up a dialog prefer it’s anyone that they’re buddies with.”

Podcasting does that in a method that simply watching a present doesn’t. Performer and viewer develop into host and listener. Characters Topanga, Shawn, and Eric might have been broadcast (now streamed) into folks’s houses each day (the present at present is accessible on Disney+), however now it’s Fishel, Sturdy, and Friedle steering the ship and controlling the narrative. “Workplace Girls,” one other celebrity of the style, has develop into important for any “The Workplace” fan, with fixed behind-the-scenes intel delivered expertly by hosts and real-life greatest associates Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Episodes followers have seen dozens of occasions, just like the notorious “Workplace” “Dinner Social gathering,” develop into even richer, bringing viewers again as soon as once more.

“To offer Rider his credit score, that’s what he tapped into from the start,” Fishel stated. “He stated, ‘I believe if folks might hear us over dinner, they’d take pleasure in that much more than they benefit from the panels, and perhaps there’s one thing there for us too — not simply to service the followers however for our personal histories.’”

Rewatch podcast fervor might have been borne out of lockdown desperation, however the therapeutic nostalgia it supplies is right here to remain. Pearson’s group is tough at work on upcoming new additions to the style, although he can’t share which of them fairly but.

“On the finish of the day, what we’re doing is strictly [what we set out to do],” Pearson stated. “Bringing folks one thing that’s comforting to them in a troublesome time, that brings them a connection to one thing that they actually beloved.”

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