PBS NewsHour may not have a reputation as a barrel of laughs, but Steve Goldbloom found humor in his job when he worked in the setup production unit for the show.
“After a while the formula seemed kind of funny to me: the idea of staging a walk-and-talk, or shooting a close-up of somebody typing vigorously on a laptop,” said Goldbloom, who left NewsHour in 2010. After he joined the Independent Television Service, where he's now a senior producer, he envisioned creating a mock-news show spoofing TV reportage.
Launching today, the comedic web series Everything But The News follows Goldbloom as a technology-illiterate producer attempting to cover the San Francisco tech sector for NewsHour. The premise frames Goldbloom's interviews with tech executives, who are let in on the joke, and his reports on serious topics like technology’s impact on public transportation. ITVS and PBS Digital Studios co-produce the five-minute segments.
Goldbloom, who is the show's co-creator along with independent writer-director Noah Pink, spurs interviewees to deviate from talking points by coercing them into bizarre situations. In one episode, Goldbloom asks the c.e.o. of Grindr, a social networking app for gay men, to explain the product in a phone call to Goldbloom's mother. The program also pokes fun at TV newsgathering, with Goldbloom and his cameraman harassing NewsHour for reporting expenses between their interviews.
“The humor serves as a vehicle to drive the reports,” Goldbloom said. “Ultimately we want people to laugh and share these videos while they watch over lunch.”
EBTN features cameos from NewsHour anchors including Judy Woodruff and Hari Sreenivasan. “The NewsHour team was so easy to work with and ultimately very secure about being able to laugh at the news and tech business [and] not taking themselves too seriously,” Goldbloom said.
Everything But The News is “a perfect fit” for PBS Digital Studios, said Matt Graham, PBSDS senior director. “It’s exactly where we hoped we’d be going this year, which is moving into traditional PBS content territory like the news but in original and innovative and entertaining ways.”