NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--On February 15, 2014, fitness guru Richard Simmons, a man of seemingly infinite live and late night talk show appearances and infomercials, suddenly withdrew from the public eye. He stopped teaching his regular exercise class, cut off his closest friends, and essentially vanished after decades as one of the most accessible celebrities in the world. Since then, hardly anyone has heard from Richard -- and nobody seems to know why he left. First Look Media today announces Missing Richard Simmons from filmmaker and producer Dan Taberski, a weekly podcast searching for and seeking to unlock the mystery surrounding America’s original fitness celebrity.
The podcast debuts February 15 – the third anniversary of Simmons’ disappearance from public – and will be available for free streaming via launch partner Stitcher, as well as iTunes, Google Play and Spotify (here). Fans who subscribe and listen through Stitcher Premium can hear episodes ad-free and will receive episodes 2-6 one week early.
Richard taught at Slimmons, his now defunct Beverly Hills fitness studio, for more than 40 years where he helped thousands of people lead a healthier lifestyle and lose weight. With a wickedly raunchy sense of humor, he was as comfortable on the talk show circuit as he was in the gym. His name is synonymous with the 1980’s fitness craze and he built a brand and an empire – one dance move at a time. If you didn’t grow up to Richard’s Sweatin’ to the Oldies, then your mother, grandmother or neighbor surely did.
Taberski, a former producer on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, regularly visited Slimmons and was a friend of Richard’s. Missing Richard Simmons is Dan’s personal search for Richard, taking him across the country to talk to other Slimmons’ devotees, fans, former friends and family. At times comedic and always with heart, the podcast seeks to answer the questions about one of America’s most iconic and misunderstood figures—who was Richard Simmons, why did he leave and will he re-emerge to talk to Dan?
“I first walked into Slimmons to witness the spectacle of it all, and man it did not disappoint," said Taberski. “He was hysterical, passionate, raunchy and bedazzled." He added, "Richard built really intense relationships with thousands of people, and he ghosted them all. I think he's a superhero - and, as it turns out, a really complicated one."
Adam Pincus, EVP Programming & Content for First Look Media said, “When Dan first brought this to us, what impressed us most was his clear affection for his subject and the empathy he had for Richard’s story. Dan sees the absurdity and the ridiculous as much as the heart and passion of this man, and organically addresses all of it in Missing Richard Simmons.”
Missing Richard Simmons is Executive Produced by Dan Taberski, Pineapple Media’s Max Linsky and First Look’s Leital Molad. Adam Pincus is EVP Programming & Content at First Look Media. Henry Molofsky is Producer. Stitcher is the exclusive launch partner.
First Look Media’s other recent projects include RISK by director Laura Poitras, which debuted in Cannes and a new weekly podcast Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill, challenging those in power and discussing the pressing issues of the day. Upcoming projects include We Do Not Forget, a feature film from writer/director Zach Helm, produced by Antoine Fuqua and set to star Daniel Radcliffe and Zachary Quinto; and a short form scripted series created by writer/performer Cirocco Dunlap (Man Seeking Woman, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon), executive produced by Dan Powell (Inside Amy Schumer). First Look Media also co-financed Spotlight, the Academy Award-winning Best Picture of 2016.
About Dan Taberski
Dan Taberski is a director, writer, and producer based in New York City. He created kids show Destroy Build Destroy for Cartoon Network, and co-created feminist digital comedy series Our Bodies, Myself. His 2016 documentary short film These C*cksucking Tears won jury prizes at the SXSW, Seattle, and Outfest film festivals. Taberski is a former producer for The Daily Show w/Jon Stewart, and worked on economic policy in the Clinton White House. He's also an accomplished quilt-maker.
About First Look Media
A bold, independent spirit defines everything we do at First Look Media – from journalism that holds the powerful accountable, to art and entertainment that shape our culture. Launched by eBay founder and philanthropist Pierre Omidyar, First Look Media is built on the belief that freedom of expression and of the press, diverse voices, and fiercely independent perspectives, are vital to a healthy democracy and a vibrant culture.
About Midroll Media
Midroll Media is a leading podcast content company, advertising network and distribution platform that is changing the face of digital audio. It is the parent company of the Earwolf network and its top-ranked comedy podcasts; popular podcast listening platform Stitcher and its premium subscription service; and the Midroll advertising network, representing over 300 of the world’s largest podcasts. With offices in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco, Midroll was founded in 2010 and is a wholly owned subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE: SSP).