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Maria Menounos, Keven Undergaro Form Movie Podcast Network With Schmoes Know (Exclusive)

Aiming to be the Nerdist of movies, the online broadcast network will expand the popular brand created by Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis

10455697_10152518518854420_2514446164463976163_nSchmoeville is about to get a global zip code, as the popular movie-loving community Schmoes Know is teaming up with AfterBuzz TV creators Maria Menounos and Keven Undergaro to launch the Schmoes Know Movies Podcast Network next month.

The Schmoes Know Movies network, which debuts Aug. 1 with its first show “Meet the Movie Press,” followed by “Star Wars Cantina” on Aug. 4, will be a collection of movie-themed shows that will aim to serve as the Nerdist of movies.

Schmoes Know was created by Kristian Harloff and Mark Ellis, two stand-up comedians who began reviewing films for CurrentTV via webcams back in 2007.

Also read: Chris Hardwick’s Epic Journey to Nerdist: ‘I Was Becoming a Drunk Guy Who Used to be on TV’

After realizing they had chemistry together, the duo formed the YouTube channel Schmoes Know in October 2008 to represent the every day person’s point-of-view while watching a movie. They have amassed a following of nearly 100,000 YouTube subscribers, with more than 26 million video views.

“Keven and I are longtime fans of Kristian and Mark’s. They are amongst the finest personalities in new media and movie commentary. What ‘The Nerdist’ has done for nerds, Kristian and Mark are doing for regular Schmoes, providing super-relatable and compelling content to their already large and loyal fan base. With the success of our online broadcast network AfterBuzz TV and its 20+ million fans from over 200 countries, we are thrilled to be partner with both of them and help turn Schmoes Know into a worldwide brand,” Menounos said in a statement to TheWrap.

“There are more movies being made than ever due to digital technology. AfterBuzz TV goes out to 200 countries that are fans of American television. I know there are more than 200 that are fans of American cinema. Movies are global now, and while these guys do an amazing 2-hour show, it’s just not enough to cover everything. There are festival films, indie films, comic book films, and interviews to do with directors, producers, writers. We have the technology to reach the world, two of the very best guys in movie discussion and Maria to help promote them, so it was a no-brainer. Between all those elements, the timing was perfect. There’s no better time than now,” said Undergaro.

Also read: Kevin Smith: ‘I’m Better than Spielberg’ (at Podcasting)

We started out as two guys with laptops who were able to speak for everyday people. We’re the little guys and we created this on our own. Movie discussion is huge news, so to create a network from our point-of-view is exciting for all of us,” added Harloff, who spent three years working at Joel Silver‘s production company Silver Pictures.

Harloff and Ellis became regulars on The Adam Carolla podcast in 2010. At the suggestion of one of Carolla’s producers, Harloff and Ellis formed their own podcast in April 2011 and began expanding their YouTube audience. The show hit its stride in April 2012, when the Schmoes joined the Toadhop Network, run by Frank Kramer of KLOS 95.5’s “Heidi and Frank,” on which the Schmoes are regular guests.

As celebrity guests spread the word of the relaxed vibe on the show, publicists began seeking out the Schmoes to promote their clients’ latest projects. Menounos was one of those guests, and struck up a friendship with the Schmoes after appearing on their show in March 2013. After having what she has described as “the most fun I ever had on a talk show,” Menounos returned in July 2013 and brought her longtime boyfriend Undergaro with her.

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“Maria was a huge fan. It was one of her favorite talk show appearances ever. She was like, ‘who are these guys? They’re fantastic!’ She invited them to her birthday. I’m a huge movie buff and was blown away by their talent in discussing movies. As Kristian and I talked, we realized that if we joined forces, we could take the Schmoes beyond a weekly program and into a bonafide network of all types of movie discussion,” explained Undergaro.

When the Toadhop Network stopped producing shows, Schmoes Know Movies needed a new space to broadcast out of, and Menounos and Undergaro stepped up, laying out their vision for the future of the show. In April 2014, the Schmoes Know Movies show moved into the AfterBuzz TV studios, and since then guests have included Jesse Eisenberg, Ivan Reitman, Craig Brewer and genre TV fan favorites Zachary Levi, Katee Sackhoff and Norman Reedus.

Harloff and Ellis are the first and only YouTube movie reviewers certified by Rotten Tomatoes and accredited by the MPAA. They began reviewing for Fandango/Movies.com in 2011.

The Schmoes Know Movies show averages 350,000-450,000 downloads a month on iTunes, and recently hit #1 on its TV & Film podcast chart. The show airs 6-8 p.m. PT on their website and airs on demand on their YouTube channel, where the average viewership is 80,000-140,000 an episode. The website entered the movie news game in May 2013 and averages 400,000-450,000 uniques a month.

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“Schmoes Know is a brand and a movement of sorts, similar to how Chris Hardwick and Nerdist culture corralled the nerds. Well, these guys have corralled the schmoes and made it cool to be a schmoe. The fact that they’ve done it 100% grassroots, with no E! or MTV, but just these two guys with their voice and their talent, they really connected. There’s something special about just taking a regular guy approach to movies. There’s definitely something there because the numbers are incredible,” said Undergaro.

“We refer to our loyal audience as Schmoeville because they feel like part of a community. I’ve never witnessed how involved Schmoeville is. With the Schmoes Know network, the sky’s the limit,” concluded Harloff.

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