The Nuance of Impact: An ATX TV Fest Interview with Jennifer Stone and David DeLuise of ‘Wizards of Waverly Pod’

As the former Disney Channel stars now host a ‘Wizards of Waverly’ rewatch podcast as part of the PodCo programming lineup that explores adulthood and getting to know the stars beyond their TV personalities.

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Wizards of Waverly Pod ATX TV Fest True Hollywood Talk
Photo Credit: Jack Plunkett

This interview was conducted by Andrew Rossow, Esq. and Jhanelle Dionne.

During this year’s ATX TV Festival, which recently wrapped up its twelfth season, True Hollywood Talk conducted a series of interviews with The Podcast Company (“PodCo”), a startup founded by former Disney Channel star Christy Carlson Romano (“Even Stevens”, “Kim Possible”) and her husband, Brendan Rooney, that brings together an evolving lineup of podcast programming hosted by former teen stars who are navigating adulthood in real-time.

Launched twelve years ago by Emily Gipson and Caitlin McFarland, ATX TV Festival is an annual festival in Austin, Texas that has since developed into a year-round event that is entirely focused on the television medium via its most engaging programming that brings together industry leaders and fans every June for a four-day event that consists of panels, premiere screenings, and late-night events. 

True Hollywood Talk sat down with Wizards of Waverly Pod hosts, Jennifer Stone (“Harper Finkle”) and David DeLuise (“Jerry Russo”) to talk about the launch of their new podcast.

Fifteen years after Wizards of Waverly Place aired on Disney Channel, Stone and DeLuise bring a nostalgic retelling of the series through their rewatch podcast, Wizards of Waverly Pod, which launched on February 8 as part of PodCo. 

When it comes to showcasing vulnerability, Stone says that compared to the early to mid-2000s where it seemed to focus on “being minimal, going to college, and doing everything right,” now fans want to see people as they are. 

“That’s just how we are, and we’re very nice people,” Stone told True Hollywood Talk, emphasizing that this mindset of being authentically themselves is “much more conducive to how [they] operate.”

Jennifer Stone, co-host of Wizards of Waverly Pod

When it comes to social media and actually reading the comments that people post to the YouTube channel, DeLuise says they’ve been on it for a little while and he’s only gone to look at comments twice.

“I think it’s important to get a pulse of that, but you can’t believe ‘the good’ because then you have to believe ‘the bad’,” says DeLuise. He continued “one time it was wonderful, but the other time, they missed the nuance of impact.”

David DeLuise, co-host of Wizards of Waverly Pod and founder of AGB Studios

At this stage, the ability to interact and speak with TV stars like Stone and DeLuise, whom many of us grew up with, evolves into a level-playing field where there’s a major divide by fans in seeing them as “people” rather than forever restricting them to their TV personalities. 

“We are human beings, we are normal people. When people treat you differently, it affects me,” DeLuise shared. 

He also discussed AGB Studios, which stands for Actors Giving Back, a private celebrity-based talent development program for kids that he launched in 2010.

With the volume of companies that take advantage of families trying to get started in the entertainment business, AGB Studios, according to DeLuise helps young actors between the ages of 5-24 get involved in the industry right away – teaching them the ropes of commercial acting, improvisation, monologues, cold reading, scene study, and talent agent preparation.

Other AGB celebrity mentors include Stone, Anneliese van der Pol (Raven’s Home, That’s So Raven), Nathan Arenas (Bunk’d, Diary of a Future President), Ashley Argota (Freeridge, All-American, The Fosters), Dylan Riley Snyder (Kickin’ It), Amber Frank (The Haunted Hathaways), Cerina Vincent (Stuck In The Middle, Power Rangers), Allisyn Snyder, (Sonny, with a Chance, So Random) and Blake Michael (Lemonade Mouth, Dog With A Blog).

We’ve had hundreds of kids get managers and agents. My parents always said to me that you can have a childhood once, and you can always get into the industry,” DeLuise said.

For more, check our our interview with the Lawrence Brothers on the launch of ‘Brotherly Love Podcast.’