Willa Fitzgerald to Star in Ficitonz Scripted Podcasts (News Roundup)

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In today’s podcast news roundup, Willa Fitzgerald stars in Fictionz’s two narrative podcast series based on Aimee Bender short stories; influencer Tinx gets a podcast and radio show with SiriusXM; Spotify’s The Ringer deconstructs celebrity tabloid culture; the 2022 Ambies awards nominations are out; and more.

GREENLIGHTS

Fictionz, the subscription app for narrative podcasts based on short stories, books and original ideas written by women, announced that Willa Fitzgerald (Prime Video’s “Reacher,” MTV’s “Scream”) will narrate and lend her voice to adaptations of two of Aimee Bender’s short stories, “Off” and “Call My Name.” Both are slated to premiere in April on the Fictionz app. “Off” is about a young rich woman at a party with a singular goal — to kiss a redhead, a blond and a brunette — but things don’t go exactly as she planned; her ex-boyfriend (and “the blond”) is being voiced by Will Roland (“Billions”). “Call My Name” is about a lonely woman’s adventure in craving attention and sex from a man who would prefer to watch TV game shows. Bender adapted her short stories in collaboration with Fictionz in-house writer and producer Tommaso Fiacchino and directors Carrie Blank (“Off”) and Pesha Rudnick (“Call My Name”). Other series on Fictionz are adapted from works by writers including Lisa Brackmann, Aliya Whiteley, Kelly Robson, Cidinha da Silva, Estella González, Christine Sneed and Laurie Faria Stolarz. The first episodes of Fictionz’s titles are free; full series are available to paying subscribers ($3.99/month or $39.99/year).

DATES

SiriusXM signed a deal with Tinx, the social media personality dubbed TikTok’s “big sister,” for a range of new audio content. Tinx, whose name is Christina Najjar, will launch podcast “It’s Me, Tinx,” via SiriusXM’s Stitcher on Feb. 21. Beginning March 16, Tinx also will host a weekly radio show, “It’s Me, Tinx Live,” on SiriusXM’s Stars channel and on the SXM App. The new shows will feature Tinx discussing her own life, offering her take on pop culture and relationships, and giving recommendations and advice to listeners. SiriusXM’s SXM Media has exclusive global ad sales rights for “It’s Me, Tinx.”

Spotify’s The Ringer debuted “Just Like Us: The Tabloids That Changed America,” hosted by New Yorker staff writer Clare Malone, on Feb. 14. The eight-part series, available exclusively on Spotify, takes a critical look at celebrity obsession, examining the actions of the biggest names in Hollywood, the media that covered them, and the fans who followed their every move. Episode 1, “Bennifer,” follows the rise, fall and eventual return of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s relationship; episode 2, “A Paparazzi Gold Rush,” takes a look at the cottage industry of photos vying for huge payouts for shots of Britney Spears, Jennifer Aniston and other 2000s-era celebs.

LiveOne’s PodcastOne will launch the “Third Wheel With Jenny Mollen” on Feb. 22. The podcast features the actor and author in conversation with some of the most talked-about couples in pop culture — including Chelsea Handler and Jo Koi, Karamo Brown and Carlos Medel, and Heather and Terry Dubrow — about what goes into a healthy, committed relationship. Mollen, who is married to actor Jason Biggs, takes a deep dive into her friends’ relationships… and offers unsolicited advice. The podcast will be available on PodcastOne, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and other platforms. Listen to the trailer at this link.

iHeartRadio will premiere “Big Brother: North Korea’s Forgotten Prince,” on Feb. 23 on the iHeartPodcast Network and major audio platforms. The docu-series investigates how the North Korean regime went to extreme lengths to eliminate Kim Jong-un’s older brother, Kim Jong-nam, culminating in the most audacious political assassination of the 21st century. “Big Brother” is written by journalist Lucas Reilly and hosted by Eden Lee, a Korean-American actor (“The Resident”). Guests in the podcast include Anna Fifield, an investigative journalist on the North Korea beat and the author of book “The Great Successor”; Dr. Sung Yoon Lee, an adviser to President Obama on North Korea-U.S. relations; and Dr. Sandra Fahy, author of “Dying for Rights” and an expert on human-rights abuses in North Korea.

Spotify’s Gimlet Media will premiere investigative podcast “Conviction: The Disappearance of Nuseiba Hasan,” on Tuesday, Feb. 22. The third season of the “Conviction” series follows journalist Habiba Nosheen’s investigation of a missing Jordanian-Canadian Muslim woman, who vanished in 2006 from the city of Hamilton, Ontario.

AWARDS

The Podcast Academy announced nominees for its second annual Awards for Excellence in Audio, aka The Ambies. The awards show, co-hosted by Ross Mathews and Nikki Boyer, will be livestreamed exclusively on Twitch on March 22 starting at 6 p.m. PT from L.A.’s Mayan Theater. Highlights from the 2022 Ambies nominations: The Washington Post’s “Post Reports” picked up four nominations, the most of any podcast, and “9/12” (Amazon Music, Pineapple Street Studios, Wondery), “Believe Her” (Lemonada, Spiegel & Grau), “Billie Was a Black Woman” (Paramount Audio, Spoke Media), and “Have You Heard George’s Podcast?” (George the Poet for BBC Sounds) each garnered three nominations. The full list of 178 nominees across 25 categories can be found at this link.

DEALS

Lava for Good signed journalist and podcast producer Maggie Freleng as the second host of “Wrongful Conviction,” joining original host and justice activist Jason Flom, who first launched the podcast in 2016. “Wrongful Conviction With Maggie Freleng,” slated to launch in May 2022, will feature her conversations largely with women and members of marginalized communities who have spent years in prison for crimes they maintain they did not commit. Freleng previously hosted and produced podcasts “Suave,” “Murder in Alliance” and “Unjust & Unsolved” and formerly worked for Vice and Oxygen.

“Men In Blazers,” the soccer podcast and TV show, announced the launch of two new podcasts: “Men in Blazers Women’s Game Podcast” and “Men in Blazers European Nights,” both sponsored by Paramount Plus. “European Nights” — hosted by Roger Bennett and featuring New York Times chief soccer correspondent Rory Smith as a recurring guest — will cover the week’s biggest European matches for an American audience. Launching in the spring of 2022, the “Men in Blazers Women’s Soccer Podcast” will provide a “positive, joyful, insightful, life-affirming analysis” of the U.S.’s National Women’s Soccer League. The company additionally announced a partnership with For Soccer Ventures, which will represent “MiB” in commercial development and marketing opportunities and will also collaborate on content across podcasts, digital video shorts, Twitch watch-alongs, live events and newsletters.

“Good Life Project,” the inspirational talk show created by Jonathan Fields, signed a partnership with Acast, which will distribute the podcast in markets globally and enable enhanced brand partnerships and integrations. Acast also will launch a paid subscription for “Good Life Project” through Acast Plus, giving paying listeners access to bonus content and exclusive benefits. The show features unscripted conversations with a range of guests, which have included Austin Channing Brown, Tim Ferriss, Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown.

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