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Feb 23, 2021

Welcoming the New Year

Hello 2021, Goodbye 2020. We welcome the new year with open arms and all the promise it holds. Especially in times like these, we also welcome distraction. So what have we been watching, listening to, and enjoying as a distraction when we aren't thinking about the pandemic and all that it entails?

As a way to lighten the mood after a long day (that seems to blend into the next one), we get our daily fix from Jimmy Kimmel Live! and his star-studded guests gracing our screens. Whether to discuss movies with Sacha Baron Cohen aka Borat, to reveal the Sexiest Man Alive with Michael B. Jordan, to share memoir details with President Barack Obama, or to be part of the NBA primetime shows with Jamie Foxx, Matthew McConaughey, and Adam Sandler – we have enjoyed it all! And now having Jimmy back in studio feels just right, and when guests like Dax Shepard, George Clooney, and Tracee Ellis Ross join in-person, it feels even more right.

In addition to Jimmy’s excellent monologues that touch upon the latest headlines, he also interviewed certain guests over these past few months who helped shed light on the political landscape, as seen with Stacey Abrams, and CNN's Jake Tapper and Dana Bash. Most recently, John Oliver joined on Inauguration Day and kept us both informed and entertained alongside Jimmy.

Thinking back to Election Day (and how far we have come since our anticipation surrounding the Election results), we also think back to Sam Bee's podcast, Full Release with Samantha Bee, and her Election Day episode. News legend Dan Rather joined her podcast to talk about this moment in history. Sprinkled throughout their engaging conversation were shoutouts from special guests, encouraging listeners as they exercise their important right to vote.

For all of us, 2020 will undoubtedly be a year to remember. One way we said goodbye to 2020 was with ABC News' annual primetime special The Year which showcases the year in its entirety – from the pandemic and our American heroes on the frontlines, to pop culture, obsessions, and the comedic relief we all crave, with Eugene Levy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Nikki Glaser, Joel McHale, Brad Paisley, Tabitha Brown, and so many other great voices!

A recent conversation from The Ringer we will forever cherish is Bakari Seller's podcast interview with the legendary Cicely Tyson just a few days before her passing. Bakari introduces this memorable episode by explaining how special it was to have been in Cicely's presence and to hear, in her own voice, about her barrier-breaking career. We echo Bakari, may she rest in power.

Another interview from The Ringer is Larry Wilmore and his entertaining exchange with Fran Lebowitz, which was pure gold and we can't pretend it's anything less.

One of our all-time favorite podcasts continues to be WTF with Marc Maron, and his authentic conversations with Michael J. Fox, Nicole Kidman, Kate Winslet, and Salma Hayek. Marc asks all the right questions and has a certain way to make each conversation revealing yet relatable.

Wondery's Life Is Short with Justin Long and Say Yes! with Carla Hall have also been must-listens. For those asking if we want more, we definitely say yes!

The premiere of Straight Up Steve Austin on USA Network starting in January has been our Monday night escape – whether it's cruising around with Ice-T, playing darts with Luke Combs, or racing in a speedboat with Tiffany Haddish… what better way to start our week?

We kicked off Black History Month with A&E's exciting new podcast series The Table Is Ours, which explores the ways in which Black identity has shaped a person's life and career, and how the concept of Black identity is constantly evolving. Our hosts Kirby Dixon and Amira Lewally provide the space for thoughtful, candid conversations about the Black experience across industries—entertainment, sports, politics, culture. We have 15 weeks of inspiring, intimate interviews, and look forward to hearing what each of their guests will bring to the table.

Another thing that makes the month of February more exciting… The Super Bowl. Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Head Coach Bruce Arians joined Jimmy Kimmel for a post-game debrief (aka a celebration depending on who you rooted for!)

Speaking of sports… Rich Eisen can talk sports, as well as a wide array of topics with his variety of guests: Christopher Nolan, Anthony Mackie, Keegan-Michael Key, and Viggo Mortensen.

For a healthy perspective, much needed during these times, and a focus on wellness and self-care, we turn to Better Together with Maria Menounos on her daily daytime video talk and podcast series. She creates a warm space and, together with her guests, provides engaging and enlightening conversations.

As announced in the Fall, CTB is so excited to expand our business to the UK with the opening of our London office. A recent example of our booking across the pond has been working with an empowering organization The Female Lead, headquartered in London, but with an impact around the world. We look forward to continuing our growth, and sharing it all with you!

Now, turning our attention ahead, our team is excited about the upcoming season of Comedy Central's Crank Yankers, as well as the newest season of Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith and The Estefans with Gloria Estefan, and their timely, multi-generational discussions.

CTB is also working on the Memorial Day Parade, an annual event which lifts our spirits, raises our hopes, and unites our country.

It is hard to believe that it has been almost a full year since the pandemic first rocked our worlds, but we continue to look ahead and recognize all the progress that has been made.

To a healthy, happy, productive year ahead for us all – with hopefully more outings and human interaction. But until then, we will see you soon via Zoom.

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