Jamie Joffe just launched a new podcast, expanding her 12K+ member Facebook group to a new platform. Here’s how she did it.
by Melissa Jacobs
“People are saying this show should never have been made. How do you react to that?” With that, Jamie Joffe launched Binge Or Cringe: The Podcast, an outgrowth of the mega-popular Facebook group in which members discuss TV shows and movies streaming on HBO Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and every other platform.
While the above question isn’t an exact quote, Joffe held nothing back as she asked pointed but polite questions of her first guests, Elisa Zuritsky and Julie Rottenberg, executive producers and writers of “And Just Like That” and its predecessor “Sex and the City.” Zuritsky and Rottenberg came under fire for AJLT’s plot twists, character developments … and just about everything else. During the podcast, Joffe asked them about all of it. That’s Joffe’s super power: She knows what viewers want to know.
The podcast’s first episode launched on the auspicious date of 2/22/22 and is available on Spotify and iTunes. Joffe (who is also Main Line Tonight’s culture editor) plans to release new episodes every month. Guests will run the gamut from superfans of a show to reality stars, independent filmmakers and actors. “I want to have conversations with them about how they brought a story to the screen, or what made them take a certain role,” Joffe says. “I think people are interested in going behind the scenes of movies and TV shows.”
As for the behind-the-scenes story of the Binge Or Cringe: The Podcast, Joffe says that it was years in the making. She started the Facebook group in 2015, but membership really took off during the COVID pandemic. In March 2020, the worldwide lockdown sent people scrambling for great shows and movies to watch via their at-home streaming services.
Membership continues to grow, even as participation in Facebook itself has decreased. In early 2021, Binge Or Cringe had roughly 5,300 members. Two years later, it’s topping 12,000. Still, Joffe took her time creating the podcast, declining a multitude of offers. “There are a lot of entertainment platforms out there, so I wanted to wait until I was clear on my vision.”
By the end of 2021, she had found a great production partner, David Yas, founder and CEO of The Boston Podcast Network. Despite the name of his media empire, Yas has deep Philly connections, including being a Penn grad. “And we’re both Tommy Conwell fans, which is huge,” Joffe says.
With Yas and his team handling production and editing, Joffe focused on landing her first guests. In early December, “And Just Like That” premiered on HBO Max. Joffe’s Facebook group exploded with heated discussions about wokeness, ageism and the death of a key character. “After seeing what happened on the group page, I definitely wanted AJT to be the topic of the first podcast,” Joffe says.
Joffe had the perfect “in.” She went to school with Zuritsky. In Joffe’s 7th grade yearbook from Welsh Valley Middle School, Zuritsky drew a heart around the photo of a boy who is now Joffe’s husband. “We were very good friends growing up,” Joffe says. “I reached out to Elisa and asked her to be on the podcast. She said yes right away.”
Getting HBO’s permission took longer; Joffe spent the time preparing for the interview. Although she’s been a SATC fan since it debuted in 1998, Joffe hadn’t looked at it from a journalistic point of view. “I read everything that had come out and listened to the companion podcast that goes with SATC,” she says. “I looked for new, different angles – and posted in the Facebook group asking what questions people wanted me to ask.”
That’s the kind of host that Joffe want to be. Naming Andy Cohen, Howard Stern and Steven Colbert as role models, Joffe says that she wants to intersperse meaty questions with light-hearted humor. Substance with sass is Joffe’s goal. “I think of Joan Rivers,” Joffe says. “When she wanted to say something, she said it. Sometimes it hit, sometimes it didn’t. But she said it.”
Joffe has a lot to say – and a lot of people are listening.
Click here to listen to Binge or Cringe: The Podcast.
Click here to visit the Binge Or Cringe Facebook group.