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EW’s What to Watch: New Podcast Review

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What is EW’s What to Watch?

EW’s What to Watch is described as “Entertainment Weekly’s podcast all about TV and streaming”. It is hosted by Ray Rahman, Entertainment Weekly writer, and Amy Wilkinson, Entertainment Weekly Senior Editor. The podcast is released weekly on Fridays. The official description on Entertainment Weekly’s website is as follows: “Inspired by our magazine’s long-running TV section, EW’s What to Watch will break down the biggest stories of the week, reveal episode previews, debate the latest TV trends, and answer your burning questions — like, did [REDACTED] really have to die on The Walking Dead? Or, are the final four words on Gilmore Girls really [REDACTED]?

Does the podcast deliver on its promises? Read below to find out.

Why is there an EW’s What to Watch?

EW’s What to Watch was announced by Midroll Media on September 7, 2016. Midroll Media, if you are not familiar with the name, owns many of the top podcasts in the industry. They own all Earwolf-branded podcast (including How Did This Get Made? and Comedy Bang Bang), the Ringer-branded podcasts (including The Bill Simmons Podcast), and WTF with Marc Maron.

It’s not a surprise that EW’s What to Watch was announced at the IAB Podcast Upfront. The advertising dollars for podcasts are rising, and there’s no doubt that the crowded TV industry, with its many offerings such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Video, would do well to have a podcast about what to watch each week. It is smart to utilize the Entertainment Weekly brand in the podcast format, as it is well known by listeners, and their resources with several smart writers/editors/critics can potentially lend well to this format.

You’ll Like EW’s What to Watch if You Like:

  • Specific TV Podcasts (A Cast of Kings, Bachelor Party, etc.
  • The Ringer’s Channel 33
  • The Vulture TV Podcast
  • Filmspotting
  • Doug Loves Movies

Who Hosts EW’s What to Watch?

Entertainment Weekly writer Ray Rahman and Senior Editor Amy Wilkinson host EW’s What to Watch. They also will have various Entertainment Weekly writers and critics pop in to co-host or guest. The team also promises other guests in the entertainment world, including writers/directors/actors from your favorite TV show.

Review of EW’s What to Watch?

For this review, I listened to the first episode of What to Watch entitled “Your Fall TV Preview”. This featured two separate, distinct segments. In the first, Rahman and Wilkinson introduced the show, and had some banter including breaking down their favorite TV shows. The second part of the segment included an Entertainment Weekly crtici Jeff Jensen in which they discussed the upcoming Fall TV schedule. These shows ranged from network television, to cable television, the streaming networks such as Netflix and Hulu.

What’s Right?

The show is well-produced (as typical of most Midroll Media shows). EW’s What to Watch really shines in the second segment, when Jensen enters and delivers great critique on the upcoming shows. He delivers strong insight and he seems to be an individual that one can trust, so I look forward to future episodes that he will be featured on.

What Can Be Improved?

The show really falters in the first segment of the show, where the two hosts are bantering back and forth. It’s extremely forced, with the awful “fake” laughter that can be heard in podcasts. Perhaps the hosts are new to podcasts, or they need time to become more acquainted with another.

Rahman and Wilkinson really leave something to be desired, to be honest. Their questions to Jensen were really disappointing, and every time Jensen wanted to dive deep into a particular subject, the hosts kept bringing it back to a surface-level conversation. The beauty of the podcast medium is that you have the time to deliver deep analysis on any subject, and EW’s What to Watch fails to capitalize on this opportunity.

I’m not sure who the audience of this show is for. If it is for hardcore TV watchers, they will be disappointed in the discussion of “your favorite TV show” at the beginning of the episode. Are beginner podcasters going to turn into this show as opposed to other, larger TV show podcasts – and if so, why exactly? I believe that the team at Entertainment Weekly can more strongly utilize their journalistic resources to deliver a more interesting, analytical show. Right now as-is, it simply does not bring anything new to the table.

Conclusion

In conclusion, EW’s What to Watch is not worth subscribing to at this moment. This is due to the forced banter of the hosts, and to the lack of being able to engage in the listener with any thoughtful analysis about new TV shows. The Entertainment Weekly brand is strong enough and has enough resources that this may turn around in the future. I look forward to that time, however, as of today you can find better podcasts to listen to.

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