by Brandon Butler
John Krasinski Sells Out 5/21/2020

I like John Krasinski. He was funny in The Office, his film A Quiet Place was haunting and frightening and sweet, and I’ve enjoyed him as Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime.

I also enjoyed his new YouTube series Some Good News, a star-studded feel good news show filmed on a webcam in Krasinski’s home, with a sign and logo made by his daughters. The audio was a little echoy and the webcam colors a little washed out, but the made-at-home production quality was a perfect compliment to Krasinski’s genuine reactions to viral posts on social media of everyday people beating cancer, overcoming isolation, and spreading kindness in the world. With big names like Steve Carell, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Emily Blunt, and weatherpersons Robert De Niro and Emma Stone stopping by to surprise viewers and guests alike via Zoom, Krasinski drew millions of viewers to SGN each week and the YouTube channel’s views soared.

After eight 20-minute episodes that included Prom 2020, the cast of Hamilton performing for a 9-year-old, and an often cringe-inducing wedding, Krasinski put SGN on hiatus.

One of my favorite ongoing bits were the fan-made mini-SGN episodes that Krasinski jokingly claimed were violating his trademarks, with a wink to the camera. Unfortunately, this may no longer be much of a joke, as today’s Hollywood Reporter headline reads, “John Krasinski’s ’Some Good News’ Sells to ViacomCBS Following Massive Bidding War”.

In addition to selling the show to ViacomCBS for a massive payout, Krasinski will produce but no longer host the series, although a new host has not been named. Said Krasinski:

“Could not be more excited and proud to be partnering with CBS/Viacom to be able to bring Some Good News to so many more people!”

I’m not sure the $10/month pay-to-watch CBS All Access opens the door to more people over the free and worldwide access that YouTube provided. I’m also not sure losing Krasinski’s goofy charm and ernest, almost intimate home-made studio will make SGN feel like anything other than a corporate-produced talk show along the lines of Ellen or The Daily Show, with guests hawking their wares, promoting their projects, and sticking to PR-approved talking points.

And with Krasinski’s departure from behind the desk, SGN’s new conglomerate owner has the difficult task of replacing him with a new host that can show the same home-spun empathy and authenticity as Krasinski but on a million dollar set surrounded by produces, directors, camera operators, and studio executives.

Some Good News was a real, heartfelt attempt at bringing joy and happiness during a dark time. It brought people together in isolation while encouraging creativity and kindness. The show’s heart was Krasinski’s goofy charm, big smile, and DIY independence from big media. SGN loses everything that made it authentic by selling to ViacomCBS.

I can’t imagine what Krasinski or ViacomCBS thought they were getting by ripping out the very heart and soul of this charming little YouTube web series, where big name stars would look out the window to report on the weather and perform songs from their living rooms to bring kids around the world a virtual prom. This is, once again, old Hollywood and old money feeling the need to own and license everything on a screen, and it’s a sad end for Some Good News.