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TV Series Review

Television newscast?

Sorry, let me put down my phone for a sec. Did you say television neuuuuscast? They still make those? Why watch the news when you have Twitter? Why watch the weather report when you have this way cool app? Is there such a thing as a television newscast anymore?

Apparently so—at least if it's part of an NBC sitcom.

Forget Facebook feeds and Internet listicles: Young Katie Wendelson wants to produce real news on a real television station. So she joins the staff of The Breakdown on MMN, serving as its slightly insecure, very smiley but essentially no-nonsense (well, a little bit of nonsense) producer. She has everything a producer needs, really: talent. Knowledge. A willingness to get her hands dirty—and the rest of her, too, if the situation calls for it.

But will this 21st-century Mary Richards make it after all? Maybe. But she'll have to do more than fling a few hats in the air to make it work.

Spunk? I Hate Spunk!

Chuck Pierce has been The Breakdown's anchor since the show was transmitted via pony express. He certainly doesn't need any young whippersnapper telling him what to do. "Get off my teleprompter, you ragamuffin!" he might holler, shaking his fist. Portia Scott-Griffith, the show's equally-full-of-herself millennial cohost, steers clear of pert near anything that might harsh her mellow. And while showrunner Greg seems nice enough and all, he sometimes doubts Katie's ability to handle hard news when it comes rolling down the pike. Better just to stick with polar bear birthday parties at the zoo.

But those are rather typical workaday woes compared to Katie's most serious career challenge: Katie's mother, Carol, works for The Breakdown, too—as an intern, of all things. Nothing like keeping an eye on your little girl while you make copies for her, right? And while most of us do love our mothers, most of us are likely also glad that they're not a couple of cubicles down from us.

(Unless, of course, you do work with your mother, in which case I'm sure everything is just fine. Juuuuust fine.)

And That's the Way It Is

Great News is the brainchild of Tracey Wigfield, an Emmy-winning writer for another NBC sitcom, 30 Rock. Tina Fey, creator and star of 30 Rock, serves as this show's executive producer. And indeed, these two behind-the-television-camera sitcoms share plenty of comedic DNA. The writing is wry, crisp and clever. The performances are sharp. Great News is pretty funny, no doubt.

But a handful of problems are squirrelled behind the anchor desk, too.

While not quite as raunchy as some of broadcast TV's edgiest sitcoms, Great News still dips its toes into the gauche and gross. Allusions to sex or body parts are not uncommon and can be blushingly inappropriate. Language can fall in foul territory. Moreover, Katie and Carol's off-kilter relationship, while loving, can still feel pretty dysfunctional.

So the fact that Great News exists at all isn't, well, necessarily great news for discerning families. Then again, compared to some other shows out there, the news could be worse.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

Great News: May 2, 2017 "Chuck Pierce is Blind"



Readability Age Range





Briga Heelan as Katie Wendelson; Andrea Martin as Carol Wendelson; Adam Campbell as Greg Walsh; Nicole Richie as Portia Scott-Griffith; Horatio Sanz as Justin; John Michael Higgins as Chuck Pierce






Record Label




On Video

Year Published



Paul Asay

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