PBS’s new series focused on tech coverage doesn’t feel very PBS.
Public television is known for sober, thoughtful analysis and in-depth documentaries. But the new “Everything But the News” proves a smirk behind those concerned expressions.
PBS Digital Studios, the wing of PBS that also brought us autotuned mixes of Mr. Rogers, Julia Child, and other public TV stars, is breaking into online tech coverage with a new series that finds Steve Goldbloom — a supposed cub reporter — trying to understand an online landscape packed with hyperbole, excessive edits, and cute animals.
In the first installment of “Everything But the News,” shared exclusively with TheWrap, Goldbloom bumbles his way through the VidCon, a gathering of people who make online videos. As he clings to PBS tradition — “What would Jim Lehrer do?,” he wonders — he meets teenagers with funny haircuts who get millions of views from their bedrooms. He tries to borrow their hyperactive video style, but gets a little dizzy.
PBS Digital Studios is part of PBS’s efforts to find younger viewers online. The network is traditionally strong in kids programming — like “Sesame Street” — and popular with older audiences for its mix of Shakespeare, British drama, and Ken Burns documentaries.
But shows like “Everything But the News” are an attempt to get people in-between — smart, younger viewers looking for shows with depth. The new wave of digital programming sends a message that smart doesn’t have to be boring.
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