HBO is getting into podcasts.
The premium cable network has signed a deal with the hosts of the popular “Pod Save America” podcast to broadcast a series of hourlong TV specials later this year.
The move comes just a week after HBO debuted the first of four specials from Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson, the hosts of the “2 Dope Queens” podcast. That special, which included an interview with Jon Stewart, received warm reviews.
“Pod Save America,” a podcast hosted by Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor, all veterans of the Obama White House, has become a sort of refuge to liberal Americans during the beginning of the Trump era.
During the 2016 campaign, the hosts produced a podcast for Bill Simmons’s website, The Ringer, called “Keepin’ It 1600,” which was supposed to end once the election was over. But given the popularity of it, the three began a new production. In keeping with how Donald J. Trump’s victory has upended much of the media world — Stephen Colbert is the most-watched host in late night, MSNBC has seen a huge ratings surge — “Pod Save America” averages around 1.5 million listeners a show. HBO made the deal with Crooked Media, the media company founded by Mr. Favreau, Mr. Lovett and Mr. Vietor.
HBO plans to have the hosts do their specials on the campaign trail in the run up to the 2018 midterm elections.
“The 2018 midterms are the most important elections of our lifetime, and the energy and excitement on the campaign trail is infectious,” Mr. Favreau, Mr. Lovett and Mr. Vietor said in a statement. “We are so grateful that HBO is taking a chance on us, even though these live shows will have so few dragons and sex robots.”
HBO has been on the hunt for non-scripted deals for several years. Last month, the premium cable network signed Ronan Farrow to a contract to develop a new investigative series.
The network now has 5 million digital subscribers and around 50 million cable subscribers. HBO developed its first stand-alone app, HBO Now, almost three years ago.