Upcoming performances at the legendary Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, include the Gatlin Brothers, Clint Black and the Indigo Girls — and Ben Shapiro.
One of these things is not like the others.
The usual performers at the Ryman are world-famous musicians. Shapiro is a conservative pundit, podcaster and author.
But the Daily Wire, the company that Shapiro co-owns, is betting that people will pay upward of $77 to watch lively banter between Shapiro and other conservative media personalities, and that others will pay more than $300 to meet them.
The Oct. 12 event is called “Backstage Live at the Ryman” and it’s a live version of a regular roundtable discussion between Shapiro and his Daily Wire colleagues. The lineup at the Oct. 12 event in Nashville will also feature Matt Walsh, Michael Knowles, Candace Owens, Andrew Klavan and Jeremy Boreing.
It’s unknown if Shapiro and company can rock the house like singer Boz Scaggs, who performs at the Ryman the night before, but it’s a bold move by a conservative media company that previously announced its intention to expand into entertainment.
Earlier this year, Boreing, the Daily Wire’s CEO and co-founder, told Axios that there’s a need for entertainment for conservatives that is made by people who respect their values. A previous Daily Wire Backstage Event, staged virtually in January, attracted more than 300,000 viewers, Axios reported. That event featured the debut of a film, an action thriller about a high school student who takes on four shooters.
And the company is working with Gina Carano, formerly of the Disney+ show “The Mandalorian,” on a movie that’s been called a “revenge thriller” and will begin filming in October in Utah, Tennessee and Montana.
In announcing the expansion into entertainment, Shapiro said that while conservatives will occasionally engage in a skirmish of the culture war, they largely live within the same culture of the left. When it comes to entertainment, that leaves them the choice of tuning out altogether or finding alternatives, he wrote.
“The problem is that Republicans won’t win anybody over by simply disengaging. We need those who aren’t political to engage with a different sort of content: content that is edgy and entertaining and awesome, but that doesn’t actively work to undermine the very values that have made this country exceptional. We need to give people options.”
In branching out into entertainment like Carano’s new film project, Shapiro said the Daily Wire will produce content “that won’t mock your values.”
“Now it’s time to fight back in the culture — it’s time to blow up the Death Star that is the left-wing monopoly on entertainment, and to provide a replacement for your dollars, so that you’re not paying the people who want to see your values disappear,” he wrote.
It’s unclear if the Daily Wire team will take their show on the road. (The company recently moved from Los Angeles to Nashville.) By the end of Friday, the first day of ticket sales, the company tweeted that “a small amount” of tickets remained.