Crooked Media Makes First Podcast Acquisitions: ‘Strict Scrutiny’ and ‘Hot Take’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Crooked Media, the liberal-leaning podcast and media company founded by three ex-Obama aides, is expanding its political and news content lineup with its first podcast acquisitions: “Strict Scrutiny,” which follows the U.S. Supreme Court, and “Hot Take,” covering the climate crisis.

Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. The pair of weekly talk shows will join the existing network of Crooked Media podcasts including production, advertising and merchandise.

Under the pact, “Strict Scrutiny” hosts Leah Litman, Melissa Murray and Kate Shaw and “Hot Take” hosts Mary Annaïse Heglar and Amy Westervelt will regularly appear across Crooked Media programming, including the company’s flagship “Pod Save America” as well as shows like “What a Day” and “Lovett or Leave It.”

Both podcasts deliver sharp commentary through a lens of humor and hope, which has been a trademark of Crooked Media’s programming, according to Sandy Girard, Crooked Media’s EVP of programming.

“We are so excited and proud to add ‘Strict Scrutiny’ and ‘Hot Take’ and their incredible hosts to Crooked’s network,” Girard said in a statement. “These shows are covering two of the most important issues that we know our listeners want to hear more about: what’s happening in the legal system and the Supreme Court, which is even more crucial now that Justice Breyer is retiring; and the climate crisis, in a way that’s honest without being cynical.”

“Strict Scrutiny” is helmed by law professors and Supreme Court experts Litman, Murray and Shaw. The trio have previously appeared as regulars on “Pod Save America,” with Shaw joining the latest episode to discuss the news that Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer will be retiring.

“In these times, when the Supreme Court is poised to transform the lives of countless Americans, we cannot think of a better home for thoughtful — and thoughtfully irreverent — commentary on the Court and its work,” Litman, Murray and Shaw in a joint statement.

On “Hot Take,” founded in 2019, co-hosts Heglar and Westervelt take a “no-bullshit look” at climate change, including discussing the unequal distribution of climate impacts and experiences of climate grief. “Climate change is the biggest issue facing mankind and if we don’t learn how to talk about it, we’re never going to fix it,” Heglar commented. Added Westervelt, “Crooked has the market cornered on smart, funny shows about all the most important political issues—we can’t think of a better home for our (hot) take on the climate crisis.”

L.A.-based Crooked Media was founded in 2017 by former Obama administration aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett and Tommy Vietor.

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