KCRW's The Business The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about entertainment industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors. The show is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Past guests include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Matt Damon and Ice Cube.
KCRW's The Business

KCRW's The Business

From KCRW

The Business is a weekly podcast featuring lively banter about entertainment industry news and in-depth interviews with directors, producers, writers and actors. The show is hosted by award-winning journalist Kim Masters of The Hollywood Reporter and produced by KCRW. Past guests include Norman Lear, Ava DuVernay, Matt Damon and Ice Cube.

Most Recent Episodes

'Desus & Mero' hosts discuss comedy roots, and late-night show success

Comedians Desus Nice and The Kid Mero have careers that span from social media to television's late-night show scene. Today, they host "Desus & Mero" on Showtime. The duo started being funny on Twitter, which opened doors, but also made them understand their craft. "Sometimes you're just tweeting away and it's not getting you anywhere. You see people and they have really great tweets, and they're basically just giving away genius ideas, or genius jokes for free, then you don't even technically own your tweets after you put them up," says Desus. Desus and Mero join Kim Masters to discuss their progress from tweeting at their day jobs to a career in podcasting, to web series, to their self-titled "Desus & Mero" TV show, and what's next. "I'm a father of four, so I see stuff like 'Captain Underpants' or 'Dog Man,' and it's not just a book. It's a cartoon, it's merchandise," Mero remarks. "I'm particularly interested in the children's book space because it's something that can create an empire."

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy shares her path from making docs to directing 'Ms. Marvel'

Twice Academy Award winner Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy directed two episodes of Disney's limited series "Ms. Marvel." She shares with Kim Masters her path from making intimate documentary shorts in her home country of Pakistan, to animated features, to "Ms. Marvel" – her first live-action, narrative fiction series. "I know what 'Black Panther' did for communities across the world. And this is exactly what 'Ms. Marvel' is going to do for South Asian communities," says Obaid-Chinoy. The mini series portays a teenage, Pakistani-American superhero, and within its first week on Disney+, it received a 97% score – the best reviewed Marvel series and film production on Rotten Tomatoes, a record previously held by "Black Panther." The filmmaker also talks about how the real life heroes she has depicted over the years in documentary form are tied to "Ms. Marvel." "Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel is a superhero who ... is very much in line with the other characters that I had been filming throughout my career," she explains, adding she desires to continue telling important stories in the future. But first, Bob Chapek's latest miscalculated decision may have cost Disney subscribers.

Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy shares her path from making docs to directing 'Ms. Marvel'

Comedy is back: 'The Lost City' hits $100 million in theaters

Brothers Aaron and Adam Nee are the directing-duo behind the hit movie "The Lost City," starring Sandra Bullock, Channing Tatum, Daniel Radcliffe, and Brad Pitt. They've been collaborators since childhood. Adam says, "In prepping, we really get inside of each other's heads – and we just know each other so well, and have the same kind of ideas and taste, so that allows us to be on the same page on set." And in another Disney shakeup, CEO Bob Chapek fired head of television content Peter Rice. Dana Walden is now the Chairman of Disney General Entertainment Content, where she will oversee original programming for Disney's broadcast, cable, and streaming networks.

Samuel L. Jackson plays dementia patient in his most personal project

It took Samuel L. Jackson years to find a home for his passion project, "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey." He's the star and executive producer of the miniseries, based on a novel by Walter Mosley. Apple TV+ finally stepped up, but Jackson says once the project got going, the trillion-dollar-plus company still pinched pennies when he came to them with budget requests. "You go, 'Wait a minute, did you stop selling phones in the last hour or something? In the time we're having this conversation, you've made enough money to do this thing that I need you to do,'" Jackson says. Jackson talks about his mid-career stardom, the team he's had around him for decades, and the bumpy road to bringing "The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey" to life.

'Squid Game' creator on the series' global success and Netflix as a platform

"Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-hyuk had never written a TV series before, but after a decade conceptualizing it, he created an unprecedented global sensation. "Squid Game" is about a dystopian survival competition where hundreds of cash-strapped players aim for a multi-million dollar cash prize. The show has become No. 1 in 90 countries and the most-watched Netflix program of all time. The USC-trained filmmaker had big ambitions for the project, but was blown away by how many people worldwide are fans. "I wanted to make a global TV show. My goal was hitting number one in the U.S. Netflix rank. But I never expected this kind of big success," he says. When Hwang proposed "Squid Game," it was considered too weird and too violent. So while he searched for investors for that project, he directed three acclaimed films: "The Crucible," "Miss Granny," and "The Fortress." In 2018, Netflix took a closer look, "got hooked," and greenlit the show. The streaming service's global platform gave the show visibility and a massive audience. With all the achievements, Hwang has agreed to work on season two, which could be out by the end of 2023 or 2024. And the streaming service may be spawning a "Squid Game" universe.

'Squid Game' creator on the series' global success and Netflix as a platform

'The Great' creator on swearing, sex and 'fun' violence in 1700s Russia

Tony McNamara's viciously satirical Hulu series "The Great" follows young Empress Catherine's adventures in her adopted country: 18th century imperial Russia. McNamara's version is one with a lot of swearing, sex, and violence, and the series is now in production on its third season. As is typical for a streamer, Hulu doesn't tell McNamara much about who's watching. But he's fine with that. "You sort of assume it's going well because they renew it," McNamara says. "But you're not locked into 'what's the ratings this week? What's the data?' So there's a freedom in that." McNamara talks about his fascination with Catherine the Great, working with Hulu, and how he transported a world he originally created for the theater stage to the small screen.

Replay: Creating 'Reservation Dogs' with Indigenous cast and crew

Before he co-created the FX comedy series "Reservation Dogs," Sterlin Harjo directed three micro-budget films in his home state of Oklahoma. He had knocked on Hollywood's door but somehow he never could find financing. "I even heard, like, this film's just a little too Indian," Harjo says. "Or, this film's not Indian enough. So, it was very confusing." Now, FX is preparing to release a second season of "Reservation Dogs" and the series is looking to nab Emmy nominations this year.

Stories shouldn't have to justify Blackness or womanness: Natasha Rothwell

Natasha Rothwell played Kelli on HBO's "Insecure," and the beleaguered spa manager in "The White Lotus." Now, she's in the hit sequel "Sonic The Hedgehog 2." With her own production company and an overall deal at ABC Signature, she plans to create movies and TV that skip the tired tropes and feature diverse casts. "I think so many scripts use page real estate in Act One just to justify someone's Blackness, or fatness or womanness, and then the story can start," Rothwell says. "We have to acclimate the audience to our otherness before we can tell a story, and I think that's bullshit." Natasha Rothwell talks about blossoming in the "Insecure" writers room, and says that she has big plans for her company, Big Hattie Productions.

Stories shouldn't have to justify Blackness or womanness: Natasha Rothwell

7-season 'Grace and Frankie' is Netflix unicorn of creator Marta Kauffman

The longest-running original series on Netflix is coming to an end. Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin have played "Grace and Frankie" for seven seasons, telling raunchy and honest stories of older women. After co-creating "Friends," Marta Kauffman thought up the Netflix hit "Grace and Frankie," which made it to an unheard-of 94 episodes. While Netflix has been offering a high volume of shows, only to drop many scripted series after a couple of seasons, Kauffman is not surprised that the big-volume approach has led to problems. "We're going to do a little bit of everything in the hopes they'll be a niche audience for every show," Kauffman says. "And there isn't a niche audience for every single show."

7-season 'Grace and Frankie' is Netflix unicorn of creator Marta Kauffman

'Dear Mr. Brody' looks at thousands of unopened letters to a millionaire

In 1970, a 21-year-old heir to a margarine fortune became a nationwide sensation when he vowed to give away his money to anyone who needed it. Michael Brody was deluged with thousands of letters, most of which sat unopened for decades, until documentarian Keith Maitland and his team decided to read them. "We started researching people, and we started tracking them down," Maitland says. "And over and over, we kept discovering that almost nobody remembered having written these letters." Director Keith Maitland and Executive Producer Ed Pressman talk about exploring a strange, poignant, and all but forgotten story with the film "Dear Mr. Brody."

'Dear Mr. Brody' looks at thousands of unopened letters to a millionaire