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The Legendary Thing!

Hey! If you don’t read Deadline, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap, Mashable, or other entertainment reporting outlets, then I’ve got some stuff to tell you! Even if you do, I want to tell you in my own words because it’s kind of a big thing and I am pants-crappingly excited about it (OK, that’s figurative. mostly). You may have questions! I will provide answers!

To begin, please be charmed by this photo of me in a Tauntaun sleeping bag. Next, some history: Nerdist started as a wee Typepad blog four years ago this month, and with the support of kindly humans like yourself, we’ve grown quite a bit. Nerdist isn’t just an idea, or a podcast or a website or whatever else — I see it first and foremost as a community. As such, I feel like there’s a “we’re all in this together” vibe. So here’s the news:

Legendary Entertainment has acquired Nerdist Industries.

“What the shit, Chris Hardwick?! How could you sell your thing???” You and your yelling! But there are no dumb questions (except, “Should I punch that gorilla?”). First and foremost, you need to know that I’m not selling it OFF. Legendary — the company behind The Dark Knight, The Hangover, 300, Inception — is acquiring the existing structure of Nerdist. They’re like our older, bigger brother now. My business partner Peter Levin and I will have absolute autonomy over the running of our company. In that sense, it’s still ours. Additionally, we’ll get fancy executive roles at Legendary running all things digital for them — I’m heading up digital content and he’s heading up digital strategy. This is an amazingtastic opportunity for all involved.

Short story long: When I merged with Geek Chic Daily last June, it allowed me to scale up to do bigger things. I partnered with Peter because we had the same philosophical outlook on nerd culture and its role in entertainment — it should be represented authentically and made by those of us in its demographic, not some shit-ass corporate entity on a land-grab to exploit and capitalize on its recent popularity. Also, our personalities and companies PERFECTLY complemented one another. Peter was very business-minded with some creative ideas, and I came from the creative-y side with some business ideas. GCD had a business infrastructure and an email newsletter but no other content. I did nothing BUT make content, and had always intended (for reals) to establish a daily email newsletter. In one short year together, we managed to launch a YouTube channel with over 25 shows (in various stages of production), create and expand the podcast network, build out this here website to a respectable level, grow the newsletter, have a theater space, have a TV show, and create a 5-day lightsaber run to San Diego Comic-Con International for charity. It’s been a delightfully busy year!

But we’ve grown so fast that the company needed to scale properly. We now employ around 30 people. Making free content is expensive. So we started looking at options to be able to not only sustain the company but also continue to expand it. Why? Because it’s fun. I’m a creator-type, and I’m happiest when I’m creating and building. It’s kind of like real life SimCity to me, which still hangs near the top of my all time favorite games. So I guess it’s a real life expression of a real life simulator. I’m weird.

Enter Legendary. Sort of. They came over with Peter’s camp, and ultimately were Nerdist’s biggest investor. I can truly say that I always liked them as a company, long before they were involved in my affairs. Even with films that didn’t hit as big as The Dark Knight or Inception, I still always felt that they were trying to do something unique in a landscape of sameness. A few months ago, I went to their offices to podcast their head banana Thomas Tull, not really knowing what to expect. What happened was that we totally hit it off. Though on a MUCH bigger scale, Thomas was like me — a guy making stuff that he wanted to see exist in the world because he thought whatever it was would be a fun idea. I planned on releasing the podcast around Wrath of the Titans, but shortly after the recording a bigger conversation began to take place, so I held onto it. (I’ll release it soon.)

Legendary is a massive small company, if that makes any sense. They make huge films but aren’t corporate-y. The issue they faced is that they are somewhat top-heavy, in that it’s all blockbuster and very little street view. In other words, there isn’t much of a digital arm. Enter Nerdist. I see the same complementary relationship between us and Legendary that I saw between GCD and me. We’re not just an acquisition to them that “hopefully will pay off.” We’re a solid partnership that will help them grow just as much as they will help us. We will simultaneously pull Legendary into the digital space while extending our nerdy tendrils into film and television. Symbiosis! [read last word aloud in robot voice]

You won’t notice any change in the way we run things. Legendary was already an investor and you didn’t notice that. This exercise will be no different. The change you WILL notice is the breadth and quality of things we’ll now be able to create. And no, we will not become a trumpet solely to pimp Legendary’s properties. Thomas specifically told me NOT to do that (conveniently before I had to say that that was not my goal with this). We will cover them fairly, as we had in the past, and will remain impartial in our coverage of all things. I still love Marvel, IDW, DC, et al. That’s not going to change. What we WILL be able to do is have better access to stories, scoops, and behind the scenes goodness. Nerdist News is a particularly interesting piece of the puzzle for me, and this will help us build that out into a respectable li’l news engine that breaks stories and gets exclusives.

So that’s the whole story! I hope you trust me and understand that I would never haphazardly throw this all away. That’s not what’s happening at all. It means too much to me, and so do you. This is a HUGE thing for us and I’m nervously excited — kind of like a Chihuahua when he knows he’s about to get to go outside. Yeah, yeah, it feels slightly weird to sell your thing, but, editorially, it’s still 100% ours. And now we get to make cooler stuff. I really believe this is the best decision to help grow the company in the most positive way and ensure its longevity with a group of like-minded humans we respect. We hope to achieve some truly breathtaking things in our endeavors in the near future, and I sincerely hope you’ll stick with us!

I am now and always shall be your friend,

Chris “Wrath of Khan Spock” Hardwick

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170 comments

  • Congrats Chris.

    Wasn’t sure how I initially felt. Yeah a bit concerned but it will only be a good thing.

    So now you are Co-President of the Internet does that mean you can pay Matt and Jonah now ? Not too much tho cause we don’t all the power / money and fame going to their heads.

  • Congratulations, Chris! I’ve been a fan since the podcast first started, and it’s been incredible seeing how you’ve expanded Nerdist. I can’t wait to see what you do next. This is going to be amazing.

  • My heart nearly stopped… but I did as asked and read on. I sure hope we’ll still be getting the fabulous nerdy nerdist stuff that we have and much, much more. Change is scary, you must know this Chris… so please bear with us while we follow along. Please don’t let us lose the current good things – but keep improving and making things better… I’m so excited for you!

  • I am really happy for you guys and Nerdist Industries as a whole! It’s so much fun to be a part of a community of like-minded people and to see it expanding into new, bigger, cooler things is really awesome! So congrats on the partnership. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for you.

  • Congrats, be on the lookout of the cardboard Cyberman at SDCC, and when at Dragon*Con in Atlanta over Labor Day, the Box Superheroes – this year is DC.

  • Congrats!!! I love seeing great things happen to good people, and Chris, you are the best.

    So uh, when I we expect the Christopher Nolan episode of the podcast?

  • Congratulations to Chris and everyone at Nerdist Industries! As a podcast/Nerdist fan since episode 1, I’m thrilled that this company I’ve grown to love and need is only growing larger and continuing to improve. Aaaaacquisition, iiiiiit’s a team-up, acquisition, it’s a team-up acquiteam-up!

  • I haven’t seen many “sellout” comments, but I have seen a few on some sites. Kevin Smith once said, “how are you selling out when you’re doing something you love?” I don’t see this as a sellout. I truly believe Nerdist is something Chris Hardwick loves and I look forward to seeing the company (and more important to me – the content) grow. Congrats Nerdist Industries!

  • Chris, I have to say a massive congratulations. To be financially backed by a huge powerhouse like Legendary, and still be able to control your stuff editorially is fantastic. It takes a lot of weight off of you, and that just frees your brain to come up with more awesome stuff. :) So congratulations, and I hope I can reach your level one day, I’m working on it !! :)

  • Symbiosis!

    Keep it real, and keep making awesome stuff.

    One idea: Nerdist The Movie! Starring Joel McHale as Chris Hardwick (take that, host of the actual Soup!).

  • Congratulations Chris and Nerdist! I was a bit scared by the news at first, but your post just eased my fears. Doesn’t matter, I’d follow Nerdist to the end of Middle Earth and Chris I’d follow even further!

  • This is a good thing for sure. I had hoped for a while that Nerdist would get more mainstream media opportunities. Nerdist Industries really just “gets” the nerdy community at large and having more influence in TV and Movies and just more influence in general is a total win win.

  • I hope this means good things for Matt and Jonah, too. Nerdist just wouldn’t be Nerdist without them, and I really enjoy their personalities and their banter, so I want to see good things happen to them, too. Either way, massive congrats! Enjoying your burrito to the fullest!

  • Congratulations Chris (and all involved)! This is truly an amazing thing! I am usually not a fan of news like this, as I am afraid of change (stupid human emotions!), however I love that you are making great strides by doing what you love…seriously, it’s a great thing to be watching all that you have done turn into a bigger and better version as opportunities have arisen.

    Keep up the greatness! Also, thanks for giving me hope…at 35 I’m floundering at best, however seeing how you’ve drawn from experience and personal interests keeps me trying to figure things out, so a sincere thanks for that sir.

  • Congratulations Chris and the Nerdist family. I admit a moment of hesitation when I started reading, but you addressed my concerns very well. “You won’t notice any change in the way we run things. Legendary was already an investor and you didn’t notice that”. That noption did quite a bit to ease my mind. I know you addressed it, but I want to reinforce that I dont want the podcast to go anywhere or change much, its still one of the best things about Nerdist. Thank you for what I have no doubt is a true respect for your fans. I as one of them appreciate it. I like that you are still looking to expand Nerdist into new and exciting places. Stay true to yourself as you have thus far and all will be well. Thanks again Chris.

    Nothing but love.

  • Surprisingly, not much work for the CUNT yet. But with “Big Hollywood” behind Nerdist, this will probably change very soon. Well *rubs his hands* let’s get to work.

    ALTHOUGH — I have to admit I’m hesitant to make fake Nerdist themed trailers or other fun stuff (like CUNT) now that it might infringe on the property of a Hollywood company. Should I be?

  • Being an artist myself I totally understand the tightrope work between needing to make a living and needing to make what you love. It sounds like you’re handling it quite gracefully. So in the words of the immortal Kermit the Frog (prepares to spring from couch and run around room, arms flailing) yaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy!!!!!!!!

  • Hardwick is rubbing his hands together, Mr Burns style ;) Just kidding! Hope this helps and propels Nerdist to even bigger and better heights, and maybe we can even get Jonah and Matt enough money that they can do a regular hostful, cause frankly, I look forward more to the hostfuls than guests I don’t know or don’t care about. Yes, like everyone else, I’m selfish! ;)

    Best of luck Hardwickity-wick. Keep the awesome coming!

  • I think it’s kind of like Kevin Smith in reverse. What I mean by that is Smodcast started out as the podcast of a film maker. Now a podcaster is entering the arena of a film making company.

    If you can draw the parallels, then you and I are seeing eye to eye. If not, I may be talking/typing out of my behind.

    If I had to guess, the Nerdist podcast won’t change much. If anything, Chris, Jonah and Matt would have access to a new cache of guests.

    I wonder if other film studios are going to follow suit, or do other studios already have positions like digital strategists and digital integrators?

    ‘Nuff Said

  • @Chris Hardwick
    Where do I send my application to become the official actuary of Nerdist Industries? I feel like you need someone with my statistical background to provide support.

    Congrats on this merger!

  • Chris, I think you have pretty much proven by now that you know what you’re doing and that you would never do anything you thought would endanger Nerdist. Congrats on the great news and I look forward to seeing what you do with the new backing.

  • *finishes reading with pursed lips and nodding head*

    Okay! Thanks for the missive and putting it out with such heart.

    Considering what I’ve been given for free, I can’t hardly complain. I’ve done my best to be a good little sycophant and support the Network however possible. But that don’t pay Nerdist’s bills.

    You always want to trade up. Acquisition vs. merger? I’d take acquisition too. That you talk about how much of a control freak you are instantly says you didn’t sign a contract, light a cigar with a stack of Benjamins, spike it on the desk and prance out. Your creation gets better AND you get to keep it.

    Congratulations. Seriously, you’ve more than earned it.

  • You’re a smart guy and you know what you’re doing so I will not be worried at all. I wish you luck and hope to see some of the stuff you work on Big C.

  • Wow, just wow! So happy for you all. Between your book and this, you just inspire me so much! Your book really helped me stay positive while unemployed. I now have a job, so a million thanks and a million congrats to you! Much deserved!

  • wow. Is it weird that this actually excites me more than worries me? I figured this would be the death of the podcast as I knew it when I read the headline, but after reading this, I’m really looking forward seeing what nerdist will continue to grow to be. I look forward to sharing this awesome thing with more people once it becomes the huge megahit that I know it will (and being a complete hipster, saying “I WAS THERE BEFORE IT WAS COOL”)
    I started listening to your podcast around episode 30 (so… almost the beginning) and absolutely loved it since. You guys kind of helped me through the hardest parts of high school, and played a nice role in me figuring out what I wanted to do with my life.
    Now, I’ve graduated, and soon, I’m leaving to study art and be a creator, like Mr. Hardwick.
    And it seems, in a way, you guys are graduating too!
    so, I guess thanks, and keep it up!
    Oddly, I feel kind of proud about you guys.
    Enjoy Your Burrito