Reza Aslan to Host Topic VOD Service’s First Original Series

“Rough Draft With Reza Aslan” will debut this fall

reza Aslan
PASADENA, CA – JANUARY 09: Executive producer Reza Aslan speaks onstage during ABC's Of Kings and Prophets panel as part of the ABC Networks portion of the 2016 Television Critics Association Winter Tour at Langham Hotel on January 9, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

Author and religious scholar Reza Aslan will host an interview show that will be the first original series on Topic’s new streaming service, the company announced Tuesday. “Rough Draft With Reza Aslan,” which will begin shooting in September and debut on the platform when it launches this fall, will feature an in-depth, long-form conversation between Aslan and a contemporary writer about their work and creative process. Aslan previously hosted a talk show of the same name on Ovation, and this new version has essentially the same formula — two chairs, a few well-mixed cocktails and a long conversation. Guests for the eight-episode series have yet to be announced, but the show’s previous iteration featured interviews with Norman Lear, Damon Lindelof and Jill Soloway. “Writers are more than just storytellers,” Aslan said in a statement about the series. “They are cultural critics, truth-tellers, modern-day prophets.  They not only capture our present moment, they help define it. Their words have a power that is unmatched by any of our religious or political leaders. And so this show is about more than just writing and the creative process. It’s about the world we live in. Of course, if you’re going to do a show about writing set in a bar in Los Angeles, it’s going to feel like a party. That’s precisely the vibe ‘Rough Draft’ is going to have.”  Topic, the digital storytelling outlet of Pierre Omidyar’s First Look Media, will launch its subscription video service in the fourth quarter of 2019 with both original and licensed content. In addition to “Rough Draft,” Topic is also developing “Soul City,” a horror anthology based on New Orleans folklore, a comedy series from Sharon Horgan’s Mermade digital studio and a talk show about mental health hosted by comedian Maria Bamford.