‘La La Land’ Producer Mike Jackson Launches Podcast Series ‘Why Not Me?’; John Legend, Gabrielle Union & Stephen A. Smith Among First Guests

EXCLUSIVE: “This is purely strategic,” exclaims Why Not Me? host and La La Land executive producer Mike Jackson of having John Legend as the first guest on his new podcast series. “There’s a method to the madness.”

The strategy being that having a mega-star like Legend in the hot seat is a great way to launch a podcast series – even more so when said EGOT winner is your Get Lifted Film Co business partner and a producer on said podcast.

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Another part of that strategy is that Legend has a pretty good origin story to tell Jackson on the June 18-debuting series dedicated to such origin and road-to-success tales. With a lineup that also includes Gabrielle Union, ESPN kingpin Stephen A. Smith, Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom Jr., WNBA legend Candice Parker, Jurnee Smollett and Shameless star Shanola Hampton, Why Not Me? with Mike Jackson launches Tuesday on Spotify, Apple Podcast, iHeart and other platforms.

Dropping a new episode every Tuesday, the series will also be able to be seen as well as heard on YouTube — as you can check out in the trailer below:

“My overall hope is to create a conversation that gives people insight and context to the journeys my guests have taken to achieve success,” Austin-based Jackson tells Deadline. “These conversations will hopefully inspire listeners to see themselves and continue to push forward as they strive to achieve their own goals, creating Why Not Me? moments for themselves.”

The podcast from Get Lifted Film Co. and Rabbit Grin Productions was born out of panels and then a SXSW stint that Pennsylvania-born Jackson did after moving to the Lone Star State from Los Angeles several years ago.

Of course, the start of Why Not Me? doesn’t mean Jackson is putting the brakes on his day job. The WME repped producer and Get Lifted has a second season of Rhythm + Flow coming to Netflix later this year with Ludacris, DJ Khaled and Latto as judges. Jackson, Legend and Ty Stiklorious’ Get Lifted Books just put out a memoir back in April by ecologist Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant. Wild Life: Finding My Purpose in a Untamed World is the third book from the imprint from indie publishers Zando.

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