MrBallen’s Latest Horror Story 💀

The true crime creator teams up with an acclaimed Hollywood screenwriter

Good morning. Did you watch Amelia Dimoldenberg on Hot Ones yesterday? After several teasers, the Chicken Shop Date host made her highly-anticipated appearance with fellow interviews-over-chicken creator Sean Evans—and it felt like the Spider-Man pointing meme come to life. 

MrBallen Eyes Big Screen Adaptation With New Creative Hire

True crime creator John “MrBallen” Allen (top left) and screenwriter Rodney Barnes (bottom left) are collaborating on a horror podcast, “RUN, FOOL!” (right) / MrBallen, Rodney Barnes, Ballen Studios

Hollywood screenwriter Rodney Barnes has teamed up with true crime creator John “MrBallen” Allen to launch a horror podcast called Run, Fool! under Allen’s production company, Ballen Studios. The show has been specifically developed for adaptation in television and film, according to Deadline.

“The fact that we have the opportunity to partner and springboard this show…is a beautiful moment for everyone involved,” Ballen Studios CEO Nick Witters said.

Context: Allen began sharing true crime stories and mystery videos on his YouTube channel in 2020.

  • In 2022, his spinoff podcast, Strange, Dark & Mysterious Stories, peaked at the No. 1 spot on Spotify's true crime podcasts chart.

  • Allen and Witters (his former manager) then launched Ballen Studios, expanding into several shows like MrBallen’s Medical Mysteries and Bedtime Stories.

Zoom out: Bringing a creative like Barnes onboard can help Ballen Studios (and Allen himself) diversify their original scripted content and build a unique brand that’s adaptable across screens. And for Barnes (a veteran of TV dramas like Heels and Winning Time), joining a high-potential, creator-driven media company like Ballen presents a chance to get in front of an eager audience more regularly.

AI Roundup: Storefronts and Shopping Tools

Link-in-bio platform Beacons announces “Beacons 2.0,” where AI powers tools like links in bios, email marketing, stores, and media kits / Beacons

This week in creator x AI news:

Beacons introduces AI upgrades in a product overhaul. The link-in-bio platform now enables creators to grow their email lists through their link in bio and write web copy and product descriptions using an AI text generator. Creators can also build their own media kits that automatically update with social stats so they can pitch brands more efficiently.

TikTok tests product AI-enabled suggestions. In its continued effort to direct attention to TikTok Shop, the platform will now use AI to select product suggestions to run next to some creators’ content. While TikTok allows creators to tag products as part of its affiliate program, this new feature currently does not notify the creator or offer commission on sales their video helps drive, according to Business Insider.

Sponsored by Super.Fans

Understand Your Audience Without Drowning in Data

As creators, we know that listening to our audiences is vital. But as you grow, making sense of an endless sea of feedback (both good and bad) gets tricky.

That’s where comes in. It’s an AI-powered tool for YouTubers that turns fan chatter into crystal-clear insights. allows you to have an intuitive chat with your fans’ collective mind…made possible through an AI assistant built with your audience data.

"It's like having an extra set of eyes and ears from a tool that understands my audience, oftentimes even more than I can possibly do,” says Pat Flynn, YouTuber behind Deep Pocket Monster and advisor.

Exclusive for Press Readers: Be one of the next 100 YouTubers to join beta and start with two months on them.

YouTube Doubles Down Against Ad Blockers

YouTube tries to put a stop to ad blockers / Illustration by Moy Zhong

Earlier this week, YouTube launched a “global effort” to crack down on ad blockers. The platform now stops playback and suggests viewers enable ads or try YouTube Premium for $14/month in order to view content ad-free.

FYI: The launch is an expansion of a test YouTube ran with select users this summer, which solicited a mixed reaction from creators.

The response from creators: Hank Green advocated on X (formerly Twitter) in favor of YouTube nixing ad blockers, arguing that ads are a huge part of creators’ businesses. 

The flipside: Critics say YouTube needs to lower the cost of YouTube Premium or offer a better alternative to support creators directly.

What do you think of YouTube removing ad blockers?

Click one to cast your vote

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

👀 Creator Moves

  • Ryan Trahan is hiring a content director to manage a business brand account and create short-form videos.

  • Yes Theory is hiring a full-stack editor to help shape the narrative of the channel’s episodes.

  • Jesser is hiring a video editor to help create IRL content often related to testing gadgets/lifehacks.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • 100 Thieves is laying off 20% of its staff.

  • Kim Kardashian’s shapewear brand Skims partners with the NBA—and is now worth more than both American Eagle and Under Armour.

  • The Information sheds light on the growing number of creator economy startups that have been sold or consolidated in recent months. 

  • MatPat dives deep on the challenge genre and theorizes why YouTube feels boring in 2023. 

  • Casey Neistat answers the question of whether or not he edits his own vlogs.

  • Daniel’s Wall crosses 1 billion views on YouTube.

📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish

The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.

  • Read: Slate’s Nadira Goffe unpacks the beef between Hasan Minhaj and The New Yorker, revealing the nuance of a creator scorned and whether journalistic standards should be held to political commentators and comedians. 

  • Watch: It’s little wonder why we’re fans of Colt Kirwan when he makes videos this fun on playing IRL Mario Kart in NYC.

  • Listen: Who gets to own history’s narratives: the storytellers, or the subjects themselves? That’s the question culture podcast Critics at Large raises when analyzing the drama film Killers of the Flower Moon

🎁 Share the Press

When you refer new readers to the Press, you earn merch from the Press Publish shop.

*Here’s your unique link to share:

You currently have 0 referrals. You're only 5 away from receiving Stickers.

*Please do not use fake email addresses — they will not qualify as referrals. Thank you!