A sly Web series that pokes fun at the conventions of news shows like the PBS NewsHour is the newest creation, and first original comedy, out of PBS Digital Studios, the two-year-old online content arm of the public broadcaster.
“Everything but the News” is the brainchild of Steve Goldbloom, a former NewsHour employee, and his childhood friend, Noah Pink. The duo stars as an up-and-coming on-air reporter and his cameraman, with Pink’s camera capturing the creation of what will supposedly become future NewsHour segments on tech, such as a story about online dating apps.
The first five-minute episode went live on YouTube on Wednesday, and the remaining nine installments will be posted there weekly (The full series is also available on PBS.org and via Xbox, Roku, and AppleTV, and it’ll be on Hulu next week).
Each episode begins with an appearance from a storied NewsHour anchor who introduces the segment viewers then see Goldbloom and Pink making. It adds a veneer of old-media legitimacy to what would otherwise feel (PBS backing aside) like more clever videos of young men goofing off. But it’s exactly that combo—giving establishment journalists the internet treatment; harnessing the continuing exodus from television to online streaming—that makes “Everything but the News” an interesting experiment.
“I worked at a very serious news show and I think I could bring some humor” to the production process, Goldbloom recalls telling PBS in his pitch. After it was greenlighted, he and Pink spent the summer filming throughout California “like a couple of hyenas,” he said. After completion, they sent it in. “I didn’t get any sleep when I sent it to the executive producer of NewsHour, Linda Winslow,” Goldbloom said. “I sent it to her, couldn’t sleep, woke up, and there was such a supportive congratulatory email from her saying, ‘I think it’s hilarious.’”
Co-produced by Goldbloom’s current employer, ITVS, “Everything but the News” plays into a recent focus at PBS on expanding its Web and mobile presence.
“If we can reach a wider audience, a non-traditional PBS audience, we’ve achieved something,” Goldbloom said.