Press Release: Introducing New Series, Speakeasy

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Added by January 1, 2015


One-Hour Talk Show Features Interviewers Valerie Simpson, Bill Weir, Jann Wenner, Harry Belafonte and Michael Chabon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame recipients, Grammy Award winners, and legendary iconic musicians are featured on the all-new prime-time interview series, Speakeasy to air on public television. The premiere season will debut on NEWJ beginning Sunday, January 4th at 11pm. The show will feature iconic musician/producer and co-founder of CHIC, Nile Rodgers; acclaimed composer and rock musician Roger Waters; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer John Mellencamp; multi-instrumentalist and social activist Carlos Santana; and legendary Rush front-man and bassist Geddy Lee.

Each hour-long episode allows for a unique insight into the lives and work of some of the music industry’s most revered figures, facilitated by each show’s host — an interviewer personally selected by the principals. The five-episode premiere season, filmed before a live audience on a 1930’s-era set in New York’s historic McKittrick Hotel, features Nile Rodgers with Valerie Simpson, Roger Waters with television journalist Bill Weir, John Mellencamp with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, Carlos Santana interviewed by Harry Belafonte, and Geddy Lee with the Pulitzer Prize winning American author Michael Chabon.


  • Nile Rodgers with Valerie Simpson January 4
  • Roger Waters with Bill Weir January 11
  • John Mellencamp with Jann Wenner January 18
  • Carlos Santana with Harry Belafonte January 25
  • Geddy Lee with Michael Chabon February 1

“Artists of this caliber have probably done thousands of interviews throughout their careers, answering the same questions over and over again,” said Speakeasy creator and Front and Center Entertainment founder, Don Maggi. “The beauty of the Speakeasy format enables a level of comfort for them, which in
turn stimulate a unique, compelling and topical conversation that we wouldn’t otherwise have an
opportunity to hear.”

As a result, Speakeasy topics run the gamut, from Nile Rodgers’ reminiscence of forming CHIC and then
going on to produce some of the biggest hits of our time, to Roger Waters’ insights into how to make the
world a more peaceful place. Songwriting, politics and his encounters with musical heroes Bob Dylan and
Willie Nelson highlight John Mellencamp’s hour, and Carlos Santana’s religious and spiritual beliefs,
while Rush bassist Geddy Lee opens up about how he maintains the strength of his voice after 40 years,
as well as his Jewish upbringing by parents who met in a concentration camp during World War II.

Speakeasy is produced by Front and Center Entertainment, LLC; presented by WTTW National Productions and distributed by American Public Television.

For more information on Speakeasy please visit

Front and Center Entertainment, LLC produces the popular music performance television series Front
and Center, as well as the groundbreaking new interview series Speakeasy.  Both shows are broadcast
to viewers nationally on public television. Speakeasy, which begins airing in January 2015, features an iconic talent chatting intimately with an interviewer of their choosing.  It will feature five episodes upon its launch, including intimate conversations with Nile Rodgers, Roger Waters, John Mellencamp, Carlos Santana, and Geddy Lee.

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