John Krasinski has cut an expansive deal with ViacomCBS to license the format of his unscripted web series “Some Good News” for programming to air across the company’s various streaming and linear networks.
The deal calls for Comedy Central Productions to produce a weekly “Some Good News” series in addition to short-form content that will be spread across ViacomCBS outlets including CBS News. It’s expected that the weekly series would premiere on CBS All Access, possibly with other windows on linear networks. The potential for the content to be featured on CBS News platforms was a big part of the draw for 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,” Krasinksi said in a statement. “From the first episode, our goal was to create a news show dedicated entirely to good news. Never did I expect to be joining the ranks of such a historic news organization as CBS.”
Krasinksi will not be the regular weekly host of the series but is expected to have a recurring on-air presence. Krasinski had been noodling on the “Some Good News” concept for seven years before he decided to go for it in a DIY fashion because of the extraordinary circumstances wrought by the pandemic. “Some Good News” was created by Krasinski and Allyson Seeger, his partner at Sunday Night Productions.
The series blends humor with feel-good and uplifting stories from everyday people amid the coronavirus lockdown. The series debuted March 29 on YouTube and has amassed 2.6 million subscribers to the channel to date. Krasinski produced eight episodes of “Some Good News,” but with Sunday’s edition he told viewers that the show was signing off, for now.
The pact for the series marks another big piece of business for Krasinski and ViacomCBS. The multi-hyphenate is the director and star of Paramount Pictures’ “A Quiet Place” horror franchise, and he is the star and executive producer of the high-octane drama “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan,” produced by Paramount Television Studios for Amazon. That series is heading into its third season although production has been delayed from its scheduled June start because of the pandemic conditions.
“A Quiet Place” was a sleeper hit for Paramount in 2018. The “Quiet Place Part II” sequel had to be postponed on the eve of its scheduled March 20 premiere in the U.S. It has been rescheduled for Sept. 4 although that may change given depending on how the environment for movie-going shapes up in the next few weeks.
The “Some Good News” pact reflects the new approach that ViacomCBS is increasingly aiming to take with talent deals that can be spread among a range of company assets rather than having dealmaking be confined to individual networks. George Cheeks, president of CBS Entertainment Group, and Chris McCarthy, president of Entertainment and Youth Brands, were the key players in pursuing the “Some Good News” deal.
“Comedy Central Productions is excited to partner with John and bring his beloved ‘Some Good News’ to audiences around the world through ViacomCBS’ family of brands,” said Chris McCarthy, President, Entertainment & Youth Group.
The scope of the pact is in keeping with the strategy ViacomCBS president-CEO Bob Bakish outlined earlier this month in the company’s quarterly earnings call with investors.
“We will leverage our ability to cross-promote (at scale) where we will benefit from our number one TV share in every demo as well as our strong digital reach enabling ViacomCBS to promote to and draw customers into our offering in an impactful and cost effective way,” Bakish said. “Almost every dollar we invest in linear content across the company will benefit (CBS All Access) with varying windows.”
Highlights of the YouTube series include Krasinski bringing his cast mates from “The Office” back together via Zoom to help him officiate the wedding of a couple in Maryland.
(Pictured: “Some Good News”)