Steve Goldbloom's new PBS show takes an un-PBS approach
Steve Golbloom was working as a writer and producer on PBS's “NewsHour,” one of TV's most serious news shows, when he had an idea: What about a show that pokes fun at PBS?
The result is his new PBS online series, “Everything But the News,” in which he covers a frenetic tech world that often feels like the opposite of respectable, elegant PBS. Instead of approaching the news as a well-informed veteran journalist, he pretends to be clueless. Unlike the elegantly produced stories of “NewsHour,” his feel thrown together.
It's all intentional.
“I wanted to lampoon the sometimes humorless environment of the newsroom,” Goldbloom told TheWrap. “I'm not really a cub reporter. I'm playing someone that is ambitious and probably a little deluded about their success and their abilities.”
For one upcoming episode, Goldbloom gets Joel Simkhai, the CEO of the gay hookup app Grindr, to explain to his mother how it works.
“She's asking all the right questions,” Goldbloom said. “She was probably the toughest interview.”
In the first installment of “Everything But the News,” which premiered last week, Goldbloom, 30, is assigned to cover VidCon, a gathering of online stars. Their videos tend to be loud, brash, and full of quick cuts and unnecessary graphics.
Goldbloom finds himself clueless about how to cover the convention-goers, asking himself: “What would Jim Lehrer do?”
Finally he does something Lehrer definitely wouldn't, and makes a flashy video full of attention-grabbing gimmicks. But in the process, he discovers a new way of telling a story.
Upcoming subjects include online dating and rideshare apps.
“We take the subjects seriously,” he said.
The online-only show is part of PBS Digital Studios, an initiative to lure web viewers to public television. PBS is popular with kids learning to read and do math, and with older people who tune in for music, Ken Burns documentaries, and British dramas. But it has a hard time capturing the views in between. “Downton Abbey” is helping capture the 18-49 audience, and so is PBS Digital, which had its first viral hit in 2012 with an autotuned Mr. Rogers remix.
PBS has no problem with playing it straight alongside Goldbloom's news clown, especially if he draws new audiences.One big test of the show was showing it to Linda Winslow, executive producer of “NewsHour.” Goldbloom thought that might be the end of his dream — but she loved it.
“I think it has a sense of humor about itself. So it shows that we're able to be self-aware and self-secure,” Goldbloom said.
Watch the video: