Nickelodeon and Disney Stars Find a Second Act on Podcasts


The audience for podcasts continue to grow, with 42 percent of Americans 12 and older reporting last year that they had listened to one in the previous month, according to a report by Edison Research. Making money isn’t simple, in part because the market is so saturated that there isn’t enough advertising revenue to go around, said Ethan Cramer-Flood, a principal forecasting writer at Insider Intelligence, a market research firm.

PodCo, which was founded last year, expects to turn a profit by the second quarter of 2024, Romano said. The company plans to introduce 10 new podcasts this year, starting with “Pretty Little Pod” featuring Shaw and Tammin Sursok, who appeared together in the ABC Family series “Pretty Little Liars”; and “Tread Carefully” with Kira Kosarin, who was in the Nickelodeon series “The Thundermans.”

Romano said it was never her plan to capitalize on nostalgia. Rather, she said, she ended up greenlighting shows featuring former stars of Disney and Nickelodeon teen sitcoms because they were people she knew and could trust.

She hopes the podcasts are places these stars can feel heard, she said.

“We’ve been a silent, niche population of people that were conditioned to be compliant and never truly understood our autonomy,” Romano said. “I want to show them that they can be empowered by having these podcasts.”

The hosts haven’t been afraid to get personal.

Jennifer Stone, who played Harper Finkle on “Wizards of Waverly Place,” recalled feeling left out on set at times in an emotional exchange on “Waverly Pod” with her co-host and former co-star David DeLuise. Alyson Stoner, who was a host of the Disney Channel series “Mike’s Super Short Show” and was in the film “Cheaper by the Dozen,” has discussed being stalked and other pressures of child stardom on her podcast, “Dear Hollywood,” which is not a PodCo franchise.

As they adjust to the new platform, the hosts have occasionally landed themselves in trouble. The “Ned’s Declassified” stars appeared in a TikTok live video on March 18 in which they appeared to mock Drake Bell, a former star of the Nickelodeon series “Drake & Josh” who shared his account of being sexually abused by his dialogue coach in “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” a new Investigation Discovery documentary series.

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