TCA 2018: Podcast turned HBO series ‘Pod Save America’ promises ‘authentic conversation about politics’

The "Pod Save America" panel at HBO's presentation Wednesday at TCA features co-hosts, from left, former Obama aide Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor.
(Richard Shotwell / Invision/AP)

Don’t expect a Democrats-versus-Republicans smackdown-style show where pundits from each party shout over each other. There’s already plenty of that on television, say the creators of the upcoming HBO series “Pod Save America.”

The four hourlong specials scheduled for the fall based on the popular podcast of the same name that’s racked up 270 million downloads want to dig deeper into issues and inform the voting public about candidates in the upcoming midterm election.

The goal is to have “a very authentic conversation about politics at a time when politics doesn’t seem very authentic,” said Jon Favreau, one of the show’s hosts and a former Obama aide.

But make no mistake — it will wear its liberal heart on its sleeve while providing “an on-ramp into politics,” said co-host Jon Lovett, especially for millennials who may not be the typical TV news junkies.


“Pod Save America,” which will air Friday nights, won’t be a direct podcast-to-TV adaption but rather will mirror the live shows its creators have done around the country (and in a few international cities including London, Stockholm and Amsterdam), attracting thousands of fans.

The HBO show, now scouting locations and joining “2 Dope Queens” in the podcast-to-TV charge on the premium channel, is likely to originate segments from political hotspots such as like South Florida, Southern California, Pittsburgh and Texas.

Two more co-hosts, Tommy Vietor and Dan Pfeiffer, said the team is still deciding how to broaden the on-air voices, which will include activists, journalists, politicians and local leaders.