Bill Maher launches podcast network with Billy Corgan, Kevin Garnett, Sage Steele and Fred Durst

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After two years of hosting his own podcast, Bill Maher will help others do the same with Club Random Studios, a podcast network and entertainment hub aiming to champion “authenticity from unfiltered celebrity voices.”

Besides Maher’s own “Club Random,” the network’s first show is “The Sage Steele Show,” hosted by Sage Steele, dropping March 27. Steele joined ESPN as an anchor in 2007 and climbed the ranks at the network until she was suspended without pay over controversial comments she made on another podcast. She sued ESPN and settled last year. Upcoming guests on “The Sage Steele Show” include Dana White, Howie Mandel, Sharon Osbourne, Jillian Michaels, Drea DeMatteo, Adam Carolla, Reggie Watts and Steve Garvey.

In a statement announcing the new venture, Maher said, “Dance like no one’s watching? We talk like no one can cancel us.”

Maher collaborated with “Club Random” co-creators and executive producers Chris Case and Chuck LaBella to launch Club Random Studios. Maher tells Variety he was inspired to build the podcast network because “the style of my podcast has notable differences from other ones, and we wanted to replicate that a bit.”

“People want to hear not just a few voices, like in the old days when there were three talk shows,” Maher says. “These are people who I would be interested in listening to.”

He likens putting together a lineup of podcast hosts to “starting a ball team.” On that theme, Club Random will acquire NBA Hall of Famer Kevin Garnett’s podcast “KG Certified” as well as develop new shows in house.

Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan will get his own Club Random podcast, and Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst will host a show about UFOs and conspiracy theories.

“I never knew Fred or Billy,” Maher says of Corgan and Durst, who both appeared as guests on “Club Random” in 2023. “But something good happens there, and I can feel like I’m best friends for life with somebody who I just talked to for an hour and a half. That’s the quality we want — a nighttime feel.”

As Maher expands his footprint in audio, so too grows his long-running TV program “Real Time,” which this month was renewed for two more seasons at HBO. Last week it was also announced that the political talk series will air on CNN on Saturday nights after its Friday night broadcast on HBO and the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned streamer Max.

Maher, whose proudly unfiltered and unswayed “Real Time” is currently airing its 22nd season on HBO, says Warner Bros. Discovery knows better than to ask him to alter the content of the series for CNN. But he will have to cut out about 12 minutes from each show to account for CNN’s commercial breaks.

“The second half of the panel discussion, that’s what’s gonna get the ax,” Maher says. “It’s not perfect, but I’m thrilled to be on CNN. My father was a newsman… I wish my parents were alive to see this.”

Acknowledging that his show “doesn’t look like anything else on CNN,” Maher can’t predict how the cable news audience will react. “It could be a welcome, ‘Oh! Something different!’ or it could be, ‘What the hell is that? I thought this was CNN!’”

As for how he’s preparing for the upcoming election, Maher says, “What I have decided to do is not preemptively give up my nervous system to Donald Trump like I did last time, or maybe the last two times. If he wins, he wins. I’ll do everything I can to make sure that doesn’t happen, but none of us have much influence. The country is polarized. It’s like a prison yard — you’re either one team or the other. Everybody says they want to be in the middle, but really they just go to their corners.”

Maher laughs, “So either Trump will win or he won’t. And when he becomes president, either he’ll blow up the world or put me in Guantanamo Bay or whatever, but I just cannot worry about it constantly.”

Clarifying recent conflicting reports about whether Maher fired his agent — The Hollywood Reporter wrote that he left CAA after he was not invited to CEO Bryan Lourd’s private Oscar party, while Puck’s Matthew Belloni reported that Maher had definitely not left CAA — Maher says “nothing has been decided.”

“I’ll quote Timothy B. Schmit in the Eagles documentary: ‘In my experience, all bands are always on the verge of breaking up at all times,’” Maher says. “You kind of feel that way, as much as you like your agent — and I’ve loved mine at CAA and maybe I will go along with him.”

Maher continues, “Do people think about their other moves in showbusiness? All the time, and you should! You gotta earn your wings every day in showbusiness. But CAA has been nothing but great to me and for me. I have nothing but great things to say, and I like them personally. So I don’t know why somebody said I was furious. Where do you get this stuff? I’m curious, not furious.”

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