‘SmartLess’ Hosts Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes, Will Arnett Form Media Company, Set Slate of Four Comedy Podcasts for 2023

·3 min read

Actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett have turned their popular “SmartLess” comedy-interview podcast into a media company — with an expanded slate of shows and ambitions beyond the podcast space.

The trio’s newly formed SmartLess Media announced four original podcasts coming in 2023: “Bad Dates” with Jameela Jamil; sports show “Owned” hosted by former NBA star Rex Chapman; “Amy Always Wins” with Rob Corddry and “Jeopardy!” champion Amy Schneider; and a “Will & Grace” rewatch show with Hayes and Eric McCormack.

SmartLess Media will produce the podcasts via its partnership with Amazon Music and Wondery. In mid-2021, Amazon struck a deal for exclusive distribution and ad-sales rights to “SmartLess” reportedly worth up to $80 million. Wondery (which is a division of Amazon Music) will handle ad sales for all new SmartLess Media shows. Episodes of the new podcasts — like those of “SmartLess” — will be released one week early and ad-free on Amazon Music and the Wondery+ subscription service before being distributed widely across major podcast platforms.

“The three of us are so excited and grateful to be able to bring more ‘SmartLess’-style content your way, and we hope you’ll all love the talent on these new podcasts as much as we do,” Bateman, Hayes and Arnett said in a joint statement. “If not, a lot of it was Sean Hayes’ idea and do you have suggestions for a new Sean Hayes type?”

The company, led by the founders and president Richard Korson, says its mission is to create comedy content “for the podcast space and beyond,” encompassing limited series, short-form content and live entertainment. SmartLess Media’s other projects include an upcoming Discovery+ docuseries following Bateman, Hayes and Arnett during their SmartLess tour in North America earlier this year.

Bateman, Hayes and Arnett launched “SmartLess” in July 2020. In each episode, one of the hosts reveals a “mystery guest,” who is then interviewed by the trio. The weekly podcast regularly lands in the top 10 most listened-to series per Podtrac’s monthly rankings and was No. 5 on Apple Podcasts’ most popular shows of 2022. SmartLess Media is represented by CAA.

Here’s a rundown of the upcoming SmartLess Media podcasts:

  • “Bad Dates” (premieres Feb. 6 on Amazon Music and on all podcast services Feb. 13): Host Jameela Jamil leads a panel of guests who each share tales of their worst and/or craziest dates ever, then weighs in on everyone else’s misfortune. Created by executive producer Robert Cohen and produced by Stewart Bailey; Jamil also executive produces.

  • “Amy Always Wins”: Rob Corddry invites his friends to try to beat “Jeopardy!” champ Amy Schneider at her own game — but they probably won’t. Produced by Abominable Pictures; executive produced by Corddry, Schneider and Jonathan Stern.

  • “Owned: Host Rex Chapman covers the wild world of sports team owners, highlighting a different owner in each episode. Produced by Campside Media, from executive producers Josh Dean and Mark McAdam.

  • “Just Jack & Will”: Sean Hayes and Eric McCormack rewatch “Will & Grace,” breaking down the entire series, interviewing guests, dissecting jokes and sharing memories. Produced by SmartLess Media.

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