Shane Smith eyes media comeback in hosting podcast for Vice and Bill Maher’s Club Random

Gonzo media veteran Shane Smith is angling for a comeback at Vice, the once-thriving empire he co-founded that was forced into bankruptcy last year after a slew of scandals.

The 54-year-old muckraker will become a correspondent for Vice News and will return to a role creating content for the media brand.

Earlier this year, the Brooklyn-based outlet laid off much of its staff in a major restructuring.

Smith will also host a podcast for Bill Maher’s Club Random Studios Network called “Vice News: The Truth.”

The video podcast, which will occasionally feature Maher — host of Max’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” — will debut this summer and also run on Vice’s TV channel.

Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith will produce content for Vice and become a correspondent for its shows.
Vice Media co-founder Shane Smith will produce content for Vice and become a correspondent for its shows.

Maher had been a producer on Vice’s HBO series, a news magazine-style show that delved into national and international issues, and often featured Smith.

Vice said that Smith will also appear on other news networks commentating on the 2024 election, and will produce content for Vice News’ social channels.

Vice’s meteoric rise is equially as stunning as its precipitous downfall. Smith had built the company into a $5.7 billion digital media juggernaut using his master showmanship skills, helping him raise millions of dollars from blue chip investors.

The larger-than-life exec stepped down as CEO of Vice in 2018 but remained executive chairman of the company amid accusations of a toxic “bro culture” that has fostered a slew of complaints about sexual misconduct at the millennial news outlet.

The company has since been cutting hundreds of staffers and slashing costs.

Last month, Vice and Savage Ventures launched a joint-venture to “relaunch and grow Vice’s digital businesses including Vice.com, Munchies, Motherboard, and Noisey as well as all associated social platforms, YouTube channels, and websites.”

Smith will also join forces with Bill Maher, a former producer for Vice’s HBO show, and launch a show for his podcast studio. Real Time with Bill Maher
Smith will also join forces with Bill Maher, a former producer for Vice’s HBO show, and launch a show for his podcast studio. Real Time with Bill Maher

Smith’s return — which is pegged to the upcoming presidential election — is a way for Vice to regain its swagger but it remains to be seen if audiences have an appetite for the bombastic exec.

“This presidential election might just be the craziest yet — and that’s saying something,” said Smith in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

Smith continued: “Working with Bill again as well as top political pundits, media personalities and social stars, we will dissect what is real, what is fake, and what narrative is being pushed as social media explodes with ever more insane memes and theories.

“We hope to uncover the truth and sheer bull-goose lunacy of the main political events of the year. Wherever the story takes us, we will follow; however nuts it seems we will investigate; whatever the truth is, it promises to be the opposite of boring.”

Maher launched his podcast network in March, telling The Hollywood Reporter at the time: “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?’”.