As I wrote earlier today, “The Office” actor John Krasinski created the popular YouTube show “Some Good News” (SGN) and, while the response was largely positive toward Krasinski for all his hard work, there was a part of the population who immediately turned on Krasinski for doing what capitalists do, and capitalizing on the fact that he had a hit product by selling it to CBS.
I argued that Krasinski is anything but a bad guy for doing this. He’s a very popular actor and he can’t keep doing this show forever. As fun as the ride was, it had a purpose and the purpose has been served. It will now be a part of CBS All Access, which is CBS’s paid streaming service, and will go on without Krasinski as the host.
But my defense of Krasinski aside, I do have my problems with the sale. Mainly the entity to which SGN was sold.
A lot of the people in the comments section of the piece I wrote on the sale had a lot of the same concerns I did. It was the same concern I voiced to my colleague and fellow RedState writer, Becca Lower, when she showed me the news. It’s the same I’ll now voice to you.
I’m not sure if I like this. I think SGN was a great idea for a lockdown show but I’m not sure I like the idea of it being institutionalized and continued well after. Not to say that having a show dedicated to good news isn’t a good idea, but I get the feeling the organization’s definition of “good news” may be a bit skewed.
CBS’s idea of what constitutes “good news” can’t be trusted, at least in my opinion. For CBS, “good news” often revolves around anything that makes President Donald Trump or Republicans look bad. Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” is based off of comedy around calling Trump Vladamir Putin’s “c**k holster.” It doesn’t want to report on the dropping number of cases in states that have lifted their lockdown, but does want to showcase a growing pattern of “hate” in the lockdown protests.
CBS clearly has a biased definition of what “good news” and “uplifting humor” are, and it’s hard to trust that the network will be able to match Krasinski’s charm and neutral good nature toward everyone. The people it has working at its network, especially the hosts, don’t seem to have an ounce of ideological difference between them, and if the hiring pattern sticks, then whoever they get to host SGN will likely be of the sort to throw alienating jabs at the drop of a hat. Perhaps it won’t happen on an episode of SGN, but it will likely happen somewhere, be it in an interview or on social media.
But outside of that, the charm of the show revolves around Krasinski showing you content generated by regular everyday Americans doing apolitical things and displaying it for free so that other Americans can see it and be uplifted. As Krasinski pointed out in his final episode, the show has always been about the community, and the community around it astounding. Fanart, acts of kindness, funny mock-ups, and more constitute the show.
CBS is ruining this already by putting it behind a paywall, blocking out a solid chunk of the SGN community which isn’t going to pay for another streaming service on top of the ones they already have just so they can watch something that was once free on YouTube. Also, Krasinski’s low budget production was part of its charm. Perhaps CBS will stick with this, but if they’re buying SGN, I imagine they’re going to at least try to put some production value into it and turn it into more of an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” style show. It’s a formula that works for viewer-generated content to be sure, but perhaps not for this.
The low budget, mixed with Krasinski’s charm and the fact that it was a free show, made for a very cozy feel. Now it will ring a little bit more shallow since we now have to pay to see good news.
In all honesty, I think SGN should have died once the lockdowns began ending. While I can’t fault Krasinski for capitalizing on his product, I do think the show should have continued being a free YouTube program with a new host handpicked by Krasinski, with occasional appearances by Krasinski himself. That way the community would have stayed intact and the good news would have felt more genuine.
What’s more, the good news wouldn’t be running the risk of becoming good news for a certain political affiliation or ideological base of Americans.