'Everything But The News' Lightens Up Staid PBS News

Mar 12, 2014
Originally published on March 12, 2014 6:32 am
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The PBS "NewsHour" has a new, Web-only spinoff. It is called "Everything But The News." It's the creation of former "NewsHour" producer Steve Goldbloom. The show takes a satirical look at the daily grind of a "NewsHour" field reporter. Think HBO's "The Newsroom" meets "The Office."


UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As Jordan) OK, listen. Great. We set up 30 interviews for you over three days.

STEVE GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) Jordan, that's like 10 interviews a day without edit time. There's just Noah and I; that's not possible.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (As Jordan) Steve, this is PBS. We go to war with the army we have.

GREENE: Goldbloom told us about the day he pitched his idea for the show to his old boss, "NewsHour" executive producer Linda Winslow.

GOLDBLOOM: I said, I've got this idea. I really want to make fun of the "NewsHour." But I think I could do it in a loving way, in a way that my reverence would veer into the absurdity. And she said, that's great. If it's good, we'll be - you know, very supportive. If it's terrible, it'll be like it never happened; we never knew you.


GREENE: Sounds fair. The first episode went online in February. Goldbloom plays the main character, a "NewsHour" tech reporter who just happens to be named Steve Goldbloom. The reporter's cameraman-sidekick is Goldbloom's real-life cameraman, Noah Pink.


GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) Go to the sign, Noah, and then back to me. The sign, back to me. Ready? Then I'll be able to see it. In five - It turns out there's more than one player in town. I'm here outside Lyft, for anyone who owns a car can sign up and start earning - something this underpaid reporter is seriously considering.

NOAH PINK: (As Noah Pink) You obviously can't use that, but it's not a bad idea.

GREENE: Each episode of this show follows these two as they go out to try and cover the tech scene for the "NewsHour." Here, Goldbloom visits a convention of YouTube's most popular stars.


GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) How you doing, Phil? Steve from PBS. Do you have a second for PBS? Excuse me, we're from PBS. Can we get 30 seconds with them?

GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) I'm here with YouTube.com/...

DAN HOWELL: Dan Is Not On Fire.

GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) Dan is Not on Fire and Amazing Phil.

HOWELL: No. See, I do singing and blog videos. Yeah.

GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) Singing and blog videos?


GREENE: Goldbloom's character learns that Dan Is Not On Fire's YouTube channel is burning it up, when it comes to views. He asks Dan Howell - the Dan in question here - about the size of his viewership.


HOWELL: Got 120 million views on my channel. And...

GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) A hundred and twenty million views?



GREENE: All joking aside, numbers like that are really compelling. The PBS "NewsHour" draws about a million viewers to its broadcast each night. That's fewer than half the number that watched a decade ago. With his show, Goldbloom and PBS are chasing new and younger viewers where they know they'll find them: Web-based video.

GOLDBLOOM: Shows like "Everything But The News," if we can generate a click for that show that is somewhat a nontraditional viewer of PBS, that was our goal all along.

GREENE: Steve Goldbloom, in character on the show, offers some thoughts on format changes that might help "NewsHour" attract those YouTube viewers.


GOLDBLOOM: (As Steve Goldbloom) Pow, crisp backgrounds, jazz ambience, hyperbolic graphics and, of course, puppies.

GREENE: Goldbloom and his cameraman, Pink, have 10 episodes of "Everything But the News" up online. This week, you will find them in Austin, Texas, at the South by Southwest Festival. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.