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Great News

NBC, Tuesdays at 9/8 Central

Apr 24, 2017 Web Exclusive
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This just in: Great News is awful.

The NBC single camera sitcom is highly anticipated considering it’s co-executive produced by one of the network’s best creative minds, 30 Rock star and creator Tina Fey and created by one of that’s series’ star writers, Emmy winner Tracey Wigfield. But instead of hitting the pinnacle like the lofty showbiz building from which 30 Rock takes its name, Great News hits rock bottom.

Briga Heelan stars as Katie Wendelson, a TV news segment producer who is constantly stuck working on puff piece stories, just like Jim Carrey’s character in Bruce Almighty and every other reporter who has been the subject of a cliché ridden comedic script. Katie’s boundary free relationship with her mother Carol (esteemed SCTV vet Andrea Martin, who gamely tries but is tragically wasted with one clunker of a joke after another) reaches a whole new level of awkward when the senior Heelan applies for an internship at her daughter’s TV station. Cue each and every last predictable gag imaginable in which Carol tells Katie who to date, spills her daughter’s secret opinions about her colleagues, and more.

Even worse: the cringe worthy “jokes” that Heelan has to utter as Katie, like telling her boss she’d rather be slut shamed than have her mother as a colleague. You can palpably feel Wigfield, Fey, and the cast wince to recapture some of that subversive, left field, effortlessly feminine 30 Rock humor in those moments. But Great News’ every joke lands with a thud like a newspaper on a front stoop.

The show also fails to reach the surreal heights of the far more successful Fey produced Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, which has jokes at the expense of its female protagonist, but not without the fruitless exploitation of Great News’ slut shaming or timid sexism victim gags. Great News shares the rapid fire pace of 30 Rock and Unbreakable, but falls short in every other fashion, suffering from the same tired, forced, and bland-unless-it’s-sexist vibes of most other network sitcoms.

This review is only based on the pilot, of course (the next episode airs immediately afterward, and the 10-episode run finishes throughout May with back to back episodes every Tuesday night at 9pm). So perhaps in future episodes Great News can capitalize on the workplace politics that are ripe for comedy in its plot, perhaps it can make good use of Martin’s boundless talent, and perhaps it can reach the hilarious heights of Fey’s prior work. For now, it lacks such innovation, to say the least. It’s as stale as yesterday’s paper. (

Author rating: 2/10

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Average reader rating: 6/10


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