Comedian and late-night talk show host Bill Maher launched his own podcast network, Club Random Studies, with former ESPN Sportscenter anchor Sage Steele as the host of its first show.

Maher, host of HBO’s Real Time, told The Hollywood Reporter the network will be built on the principle of “freedom of expression.”

“I am looking for people who are not talking-point people. I’m looking for people who don’t, before they speak, say, ‘What’s the right answer here?’” Maher explained. The network is also being backed by TV producers Chris Case and Chuck LaBella.

Learn the benefits of becoming a Valuetainment Member and subscribe today!

The first show will be called “The Stage Steele Show,” and plans to platform Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan, Limp Bizkit singer Fred Durst (who will host a show about conspiracy theories and UFOs), and NBA star Kevin Garnett.

Maher underscored that he wants to give other figures the freedom he has found doing his “Club Random” podcast.

I’m high when I do the whole thing. It just seemed like a good idea,” Maher joked. “I mean, my real job is at HBO … it’s different, I’m talking to senators and governors, and I can’t be high and forgetting what I was saying and talking about sex all the time … But the podcast is me after hours, it’s Real Time after dark.”

Related: Patrick Bet-David Joins Bill Maher’s “Club Random,” Becomes First Guest to Leave Sober

In August 2023, Sage Steele announced she was officially leaving Disney-owned ESPN after reaching a settlement in her lawsuit against the network. Steele had alleged her contract rights, as well as her First Amendment rights, were violated when the network suspended her for making controversial comments on former President Barack Obama’s racial identity, workplace sexual harassment, and vaccine mandates on a podcast with former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler.

“She’s the perfect choice to be our first new host because, like me, she pissed off Disney. There’s a certain poetic symmetry to that,” Maher said, alluding to his conflict with Disney following ABC’s cancellation of his show Politically Incorrect in 2002. He added that Steele’s podcast was to launch on Tuesday.

Steele told The Hollywood Reporter that she wants “conversations, not interviews,” and said Dana White, Howie Mandel, and Adam Corolla are some of the first guests.

“What I’ve always tried to dig out during my career is the ‘why’ behind people and get that human interest story,” Steele said. “You realize that by sharing your story, others can benefit as well … I’ve gotten thousands of emails over the last couple of years since I kind of became controversial and started getting canceled, from people saying, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you for sharing,’ ‘Oh my gosh, I’m afraid too,’ and ‘Oh my gosh, please don’t be quiet, you’re speaking for me.’ So that’s where this came from. I’ve always had that curiosity, but now I know firsthand what it’s like when you open up and are vulnerable and share.”

These are not rookies, these are grown-ass adult, mature, fun, unafraid people,” Maher said. “So I don’t worry about them, and I certainly wouldn’t dream of micromanagement. I mean, they are their own people. And that’s what we want.”

Shane Devine is a writer covering politics, economics, and culture for Valuetainment. Follow Shane on X (Twitter).

Add comment