Amazon on Tuesday acquired the early-access rights to “SmartLess,” the top-ranked podcast hosted by actors Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Bloomberg reported that the three-year agreement is worth between $60 and $80 million.
Under the new deal, new episodes of “SmartLess” will hit Amazon Music one week before they hit other podcast apps, starting Aug. 1.
The podcast, according to the show’s bio, “connects and unites people from all walks of life to learn about shared experiences through thoughtful dialogue and organic hilarity.” Each “SmartLess” episode comes with a twist — one host brings on a mystery guest the other two hosts didn’t know about beforehand, leading to more “improvised and authentic” conversations. The show’s eclectic guest list has included Vice President Kamala Harris, Jennifer Aniston, George Clooney, Sam Harris and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos.
“SmartLess” is currently ranked the fourth most-popular podcast on Apple’s podcast chart; it’s also ranked the 14th most popular podcast on Spotify.
Podcast studio Wondery, which Amazon acquired last year, will handle distribution, marketing and advertising for the show. Amazon also gets the right to partner with the “SmartLess” crew on future shows according to its agreement.
“Since its launch last year, SmartLess has brought us some of the most entertaining conversations from today’s top celebrities and public figures infused with much-needed laughter, and we’re thrilled to bring this show to Wondery,” Wondery CEO Jen Sargent said in a statement. “The hosts’ unique approach to authentic storytelling make it the perfect addition to our offering, and Wondery, along with Amazon Music, is honored to bring this show to new audiences.”
Amazon’s big payout for “SmartLess” comes on the heels of Spotify dropping $60 million on Barstool’s “Call Her Daddy” podcast earlier this month. It also comes as the U.S. podcast industry is set to eclipse $1 billion in advertising revenue for the first time ever in 2021, as TheWrap recently reported.