When Everything But the News launched in February, the laugh-out-loud comedy left this viewer wanting more. And when PBS released the video "PBS Reporter Fail | SXSW Music", a commercial plug for EBTN, it went viral with more than 150,000 views.
"We really fooled people," Steve Goldbloom, co-creator and star, says laughing. Goldbloom explains that viewers -- and Buzzfeed -- couldn't tell if the clip was real, or fake. "I think they just didn't know what the hell was going on," he says. "The fact that that promotion looks real, and confuses people, is totally inline with our product."
With a collective 70,000-plus views on YouTube the series just wrapped up its first season on April, 16. Goldbloom tells SF Weekly that due to the success, he and PBS Digital Studios are developing a new season, and possibly expanding the program.
"We are talking about everything from a larger show -- a half-hour format -- to a weekly show, and also maintaining a presence on YouTube. The idea that we could possibly move to television is really exciting," Goldbloom says.
The full first season of the mockumentary-style series premiered on PBS.org and PBS apps for Xbox, Roku and AppleTV on Feb. 12. However, PBS Digital Studios applied a new strategy where they published one episode a week to their YouTube channel, for 10 weeks.
"I think the Digital Studios is really focused on YouTube: catering to, and building a YouTube audience," Matthew D. Vree, executive producer of EBTN, says.
Vree explains that PBS viewers and subscribers may have caught-on to the show as soon as it was available. However, releasing episodes weekly on YouTube, EBTN allowed them to attract more viewers, and new PBS fans who could then link to the PBS site and apps to see the entire series. "Because (EBTN) has a narrative arch across ten episodes, it lent itself to binge watching, and it did really well compared to other shows we've put on (YouTube)," Vree says.
"Everyone is getting into that game right now (where they) are doing their original productions: Amazon, obviously NetFlix. And PBS Digital Studios is stepping into that space," Goldbloom says.
EBTN, the PBS Digital Studios and ITVS co-production, is PBS's first scripted comedy series where cameraman Noah Pink (co-creator) follows Goldbloom (who plays himself as a cub reporter) as he tackles the tech and startup industry in California. Stationed in San Francisco, Goldbloom hilariously fails at reporting on rideshares, internet dating, workout apps and much more. The three-to-seven-minute episodes are staged as NewsHour segments, giving it a show within a show type feel that expresses the vulnerability and realness of journalists in the field.
"We've been incredibly happy with the series and how people responded to it. It did a lot for our position online, and it's a fresh take on covering the news that we're excited to see expand and grow," Vree says. "I love it."
PBS Digital Studios will release plans for EBTN by early June. Check out PBS's YouTube channels for clips and updates. Until then, Check out what you've been missing. The entire first season can be streamed below.