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Great News is a television sitcom created by Tracy Wigfield which premiered on NBC in April 2017.

Katie (Briga Heelan) is a producer at The Breakdown, a national news program that broadcasts out of Secaucus, NJ. Katie is frustrated because the bosses at her show give her fluff pieces instead of the hard news she wants to do. She's also frustrated by her helicopter mom Carol (Andrea Martin, of SCTV fame), who is continually calling Katie and inserting herself in Katie's life. So she's even more frustrated when her mother, looking for something to do as she approaches her golden years, gets herself a job as an intern on Katie's show.

Nicole Richie and John Michael Higgins play Portia and Chuck, the co-anchors of The Breakdown. Adam Campbell is Greg, the harried executive producer of the show, who has a Will They or Won't They? thing going with Katie. Horatio Sanz is Justin, the genial control room editor.

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Great News was cancelled in May 2018 after a two-season run.


Tropes:

  • Aesop Amnesia: Parodied. After coming to realise how wrong he was to dismiss and act condescendingly towards Portia’s ideas, and giving a speech about how he’ll never do it again, not five minutes goes by in episode 1-8 before Chuck is back to acting like himself and dismissing her ideas again.
  • Almost Kiss: In episode 1-10. Katie and Greg stare into each other's eyes after a long hug, but are quickly interrupted by the news crew.
  • Ambiguously Bi: Portia. She has had numerous relationships with men, sometimes at the same time, yet in episode 1-5, she’s clearly enjoying watching Beth dance without her shirt on, even pouring money over her as she does so.
    • Gene and Justin both show attraction to women, but also engage in a "sex show" while drunk, with each other.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Beth. It’s revealed in episode 1-5 that it only takes a few drinks before she starts getting handsy with her female co-workers.
    • Wayne, the cameraman. He gives the deepest kiss of the lineup to kiss Greg, and described Chuck doing the news on a rooftop as "smoking hot"
  • Amusingly Short List: Portia reports on the latest celebrity caught in a sex scandal, ending with her listing the only good men left in Hollywood: "Tom Hanks; end of list."
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  • Answer Cut: In episode 1-10, Katie is plotting against Greg's grandmother and considers going somewhere where she wouldn't be caught dead in. Cut to everyone at Carol's home.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Greg's constant references to "my cat" in early episodes make it seem as if he's a male Crazy Cat Lady but then it's revealed that he's been talking about "my Cat", aka his girlfriend Catherine.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In episode 1-3, Greg is the most overjoyed that Chuck will miss one day, as it means he won’t have to put up with his demands. Unfortunately, it turns out that without Chuck he no longer has an excuse to stop the cast from including all of their outrageous ideas into the program, despite knowing that doing so will ruin their credibility.
  • Between My Legs: Katie is framed between Chuck's legs in an homage to The Graduate in episode 1-5. She thinks he's trying to seduce her but in fact he's asking for help on asking out the hot young thing at his fitness club.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: Chuck to a tee. On the surface he’s arrogant, egotistical, demanding and selfish, but underneath he struggles with a variety of issues. This includes his constant fear of losing his job to someone younger, concern with just how out of touch with the modern generation he is, and unescapable worry that even after everything he’s done over his career has not been enough, that he’s not good enough and is going to be forgotten.
  • Big "NO!": Carol in episode 1-7, when she is drawn to the red door, which has opened.
  • The Big Rotten Apple: Katie is on the phone with her mother, extolling the excitement of living in New York City, when out of nowhere a rat hits her in the face.
    Katie: Did that rat just jump out of somewhere, or did someone throw it at me?
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Katie briefly speaks Korean and while she talks about a basement poker game, the subtitles say that it's a underground poker game.
  • Brutal Honesty: Chuck lets Carol stay as an intern after she calls him out on his diva behavior. He admires that she tells him the truth while everyone else around him is a Yes-Man.
  • Buses Are for Freaks: Katie has to take the bus to a Halloween party in "Night of the Living Screen". Among the people she meets are a guy who says "I'm making toilet" and another guy who's carrying a soup tureen for trick-or-treaters.
  • Buxom Is Better: Among the reasons Carol lists for Greg being attracted to Katie is "she has Nana's yabbos."
  • Can't Stop the Signal: At the end of "Early Retirement", The Breakdown reports on Felton Pelt shooting his former partner and stealing his patents. Pelt vows to spend the rest of his life suing them, but Katie then points at all the other news outlets reporting on it (except for Fox News, which is reporting on Hilary Clinton giving a waiter a funny look) and asks if he has enough money to sue all of them.
  • Christmas Episode: Season 2's "A Christmas Carol Wendelson", in which Carol brings her insanely over-the-top Christmas spirit to the office.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Beth Virek, the weird weatherwoman. She believes the apocalypse is coming in the form of earthquakes in 2018, thinks that the weather is alive (or at least conscious enough that it can have a relationship with her), and admits to having grown up in a home for “strange children”.
  • Creator Cameo: Wigfield has a small recurring role as Beth the weird weatherwoman.
  • Cool Old Lady: Carol to a tee. She’s got a massive online social following, throws a great party for the staff in episode 1-5, is very popular with everyone who works on the show, and often goes gambling with her friends.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive:
    • Mildred Marlock, Greg’s grandmother, international business woman and the owner of the network. It is she who is behind the data mining scandal, all so she can acquire the knowledge for her own use.
    • Fenton Pelt in the second season, an eccentric tech billionaire who sues The Breakdown for libel, which is actually a plot to get revenge on Chuck for humiliating him when he exposed him as an adult posing as a teenager in high school science fairs.
  • Dirty Coward: When Chuck agrees to go back into the field, to report on South Sudan, Greg asks for previous footage of him in the first Gulf War to use for promos. The footage reveals that he spent the whole time freaking out and cowering. This gets slightly deconstructed as Chuck points out how it’s incredibly easy to mock a person for being afraid when you yourself are in the comfort and safety of your own office, but it’s a different story when you actually have to face the danger. However, it’s clear that despite this he really is a coward.
    Chuck: (to a random Iraqi woman) I renounce the United States of America! I want to become one of Saddam Hussein's beautiful brides!
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Diana St. Tropez gets accused by many of the men on staff for sexual harassment but the women and the men who weren't harassed dismiss their claims. Katie discovers, to her horror, that her idol really is harassing the men but Diana swings the situation back on herself by claiming to be a victim of sexual discrimination herself: while her male peers get fired and given golden parachutes, she keeps on getting promoted and has to work longer and longer hours because no one takes the claims against her seriously!
  • Engineered Public Confession: How Katie manages to catch Mildred Marlock in her data mining scam. By tricking Mildred into thinking she has already had the show’s feed cut, leading to her bragging about never being caught in front of a working camera.
  • Enhance Button: Parodied when Chuck enlarges a photo of Fenton Pelt, but it comes out pixelated, leading him to believe that Felton is some kind of “tiny box man”.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: In the first season finale, a long line of male and female employees forms for the chance to kiss Greg, with the men being more enthusiastic about it.
  • Evil Brit:
    • Discussed Trope, as Greg thinks this stereotype is why the people in the newsroom don't like him.
    Greg: In the movies, villains always have British accents - even the Nazis! How is that fair?
  • The Faceless: The camera never shows the face of Katie's father, not even when the three of them are attending a funeral together in the pilot. His face is always obscured or out of focus, or he's shot from the rear.
  • Fantastic Racism: Redheads consider themselves to be an oppressed minority and have begun an uprising that makes them a credible security threat.
  • Five-Finger Fillet: A drunk Carol does this at the office party in episode 1-5.
  • George Jetson Job Security: A montage shows Chuck having interns fired for petty offenses.
  • Genius Ditz: Portia. Most of the time she barely seems to understand what is going on. However she can also make incredibly insightful observations, such as pointing out the importance of a genuine focus on the investigative procedures and facts of journalism over gimmicks and such, even in the modern age of technology and social media, only for her to immediately start talking about something random.
  • Guile Hero: Greg in episode 1-2. When the networks orders that Chuck and Portia engage in some friendly banter to boost ratings proves impossible as the two have absolutely nothing in common. He manages to pull it off by having them believe they’re talking about something completely different at the same time. For example he has them talk about how much they love lemonade, with Chuck believing it's lemonade the beverage and Portia believing it's Lemonade, the Beyoncé album.
  • The Heist: Spoofed in "Competing Offer", where Chuck plans one to break into his ex-wife's storage locker, which somehow involves everyone but him to dress as plumbers. It fails immediately when Chuck gets his hand stuck on the gate and triggers the security alarm.
  • Henpecked Husband: Carol has this relationship with Dave, Katie’s father. She regularly ignores him, forgets about him and honestly doesn’t really seem to acknowledge him much. Played for laughs, as this seems to stem more from her being scatter-brained than being controlling.
    • Greg. One episode points out his girlfriend Cat doesn't let him sleep in their bed.
  • Holding the Floor: In "Early Retirement", Chuck is forced to retire and read a statement on the air or Felton Pelt will sue the show. However, a rider in his contract stipiulates that on his last day he is allowed to say his piece. Chuck uses this to deliver a Character Filibuster seven hours long, giving Katie and Carol enough time to find Pelt's former business partner and testify against him on air.
  • I Call Him "Mr. Happy": Katie's breasts are named "Bebop" and "Rock Steady".
  • It's Been Done: When Portia has to read all the news while Chuck is suspended, she ask why they can’t just print out the news so people can read it themselves. Greg points out that she just invented newspapers. Portia also suggests having kids in bicycles deliver them, and that on Sunday they could have bad, unfunny cartoons.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Greg explains to Chuck that the current theme song for "The Breakdown" is only six seconds long and the new one needs to be similarly short. He then sings a little six-second ditty, which of course is actually the theme of Great News, and then says "oh, that's good."
  • Like Brother and Sister: Inverted. In episode 1-7, when Katie and Greg try to stop the rumor going around that they're sleeping together, Beth responds by saying she thought they were brother and sister.
  • Might as Well Not Be in Prison at All: Played for Laughs. Field reporter Kevin gets arrested at the beginning of episode 1-6 for being a serial arsonist and leading a redhead supremacist group. Despite this Greg notes that he’s somehow still mobilising the red head army from prison, and the episode ends with one of his followers taking the vacant job of field reporter, for some part of his plan.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: The arc of the first season involves Katie trying to crack a hacking scandal, while Carol is given a story about a popular gaming app named Biscuit Blitz. The two turn out to be related, as Biscuit Blitz had been used to hack into people's phones, a plot orchestrated by Greg's grandmother, who also owns the network.
  • Missing Mom: Beth apparently hasn’t seen her mother in over twenty years, and admits in one episode that she was raised in a home for “strange children”.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Katie once dated a reporter, but Portia convinces her that he might be a "side piece" while he pursues another relationship, since he keeps taking private calls and has never invited her to his apartment. Katie confronts him, only to learn that he's just Married to the Job.
  • My Beloved Smother: Carol continues to be overprotective of Katie, even as an adult. The second episode has her realize that her overprotectiveness may have damaged Katie psychologically, as she watches her stumbling to ride a bike. (An earlier flashback has Carol stopping Katie from learning to ride one after her first fall.)
  • Nepotism: Turns out that Greg's grandmother owns the network.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Morning Wined Up" with "Kelly and Mary Kelly" getting wine drunk on the air is an obvious goof on the Kathie Lee/Hoda pairing on the Today show.
  • Only Sane Man. Greg. He’ll normally be the one to point out the absurdity and stupidity of the others, or the events that are going on around them. Katie is close, but she has too many issues of her own to truly count.
  • Only Sane Employee. Greg. It’s his job to contain the insanity of the cast and ensure that a proper news report is produced every single day.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad: Deconstructed on "Sensitivity Training". Carol gets sent for sensitivity training after being Innocently Insensitive to a coworker, where Chuck (for whom sensitivity training is basically a life sentence) convinces her that she and him are not at fault, that it's the politically correct culture. To prove their point, they act as if everything is insulting to them and get the entire crew into sensitivity training to see what it feels like. However, the others pass the training easily, while Carol and Chuck still don't. After talking with some of the crew about what they have to go through, Carol realizes that "It's not this PC stuff that is complicated. People are complicated!" Chuck, however, still needs convincing, and it takes him staging a roast to prove that he can take a joke (and then realizing that he can't) to get the lesson.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Chuck is a little behind the times when it comes to pop culture.
    Chuck: Who is Snapchat? Is he one of the Minions? And are they all Poke-men?
  • Real After All:
    • Chuck's cover for getting double cataract surgery is that he's accepting an award from Hip and Young magazine, which Katie doubts is a real publication. At the end, however, Greg is reading an actual issue of Hip and Young and realizes that their awards aren't until September.
    • Chuck jokes that Greg wasn't accepted at Hogwarts. Later, Greg's grandmother criticizes him for being a failure, mentioning that he was never accepted at Hogwarts.
  • Repeat After Me: A whole series of gags in episode 1-3. Chuck, who is too blind to read the teleprompter due having had cataract surgery, has Carol narrate the copy to him via ear piece, with disastrous results.
  • Rich Bitch: Mildred Marlock. She’s snobbish, egotistical, stuck up, condescending, classist and as it turns out, an outright criminal.
  • The Roast: Chuck stages one for himself in "Sensitivity Training" to prove that he is tough enough to take a joke. Instead, he's reduced to a blubbering mess after everyone takes their shots at him, most of which weren't that mean to begin with.
  • Sheet of Glass: Parodied. At first Katie looks like she's going to crash into one, but it turns out the Genre Savvy workers are only practicing for when they do have to carry real glass.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: Katie is responsible for most of the show's physical comedy, making things as simple as riding a bike look like an epic undertaking.
  • Soft Glass: A drunk Greg walks right through a glass window in episode 1-5 and doesn't get a scratch.
  • Snowed-In: Episode 1-5 finds the whole gang stuck in the office after a blizzard hits New Jersey.
  • Something We Forgot: Carol is overwhelmed by her duties as an intern, and feels like she forgot something. Cut to her husband Dave giving himself a One-Person Birthday Party.
  • Spiritual Successor: To 30 Rock, another Work Com about a harried TV producer and the wacky people on her show. Not coincidental, as the executive producers of this show are the creators of 30 Rock, Tina Fey and Robert Carlock.
    • In a way, this show is what the original plan for the premise of 30 Rock was going to be—a news program with a wacky crew and an idiot news anchor.
  • Stock Ness Monster: In episode 1-8, Katie finds out that Greg was humiliated at his last job in England by an anonymous source claiming to have information about the Loch Ness Monster. All that is found is a boot. However, at the end of the episode, there is a Nessie-like creature coming out of the water, right after Greg leaves dejectedly.
  • String Theory: Katie makes a board out of the contents of her boyfriend's backpack to figure out what secrets he's been keeping from her. The string connecting them, however, is from her sweater being snagged on one of the thumbtacks.
  • Takes a Third Option: In "Catfight", Chuck gets an alt-right fan base because Diana St. Tropez had Justin put Consesrvative graphics on his tie. Chuck, who prides himself on impartiality, reacts by doing an editorial about how he doesn't pick side, which makes both sides hate him. Portia points out that journalism is on "prison rules" now, and that the only option is to pick a side. In the end, they decide to go another way and have Chuck give bizarre statements that confuse both sides, noting that in prison, if you don't pick a side, you can just act crazy so everyone backs off.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Whilst Chuck is more middle aged than old, he is utterly useless with modern technology and social media, not to mention openly despising it. This is partially because it makes him feel old and partially out of his belief that it distracts people from the simplicity of life.
    • Subverted with Carol. She's described as a "Facebook savant" by Katie, has a greater social media following than her and masters anything to do with apps or social media easily. However, anything technological that applies to her job or schoolwork, like making files into PD Fs, she is terrible at.
  • Walk and Talk: Lampshaded on "Catfight" when Chuck warns Carol to get to the point because they're running out of hallway. In the end, they end up walking into a wall.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Greg is trying to prove to his grandmother that he's not a loser like he was back in England.
  • Will They or Won't They?: By episodes 1-5 and 1-6, when Greg has described Katie's face as symmetrical and her on-camera appearances as "not ugly", it's clear that he and Katie are going to be playing out this trope.
  • Witty Banter: The director wants Chuck and Portia to engage in banter to get more viewers. Trouble is, Chuck hates talking to Portia, as the two have nothing in common.
  • Womanchild: Katie. While normally quite sensible and calm, it’s made clear on several occasions that due to Carol’s helicopter parenting, she isn’t as well adjusted as a grown woman should be. At times she can be immature, bratty and naïve. Despite being in her thirties, she still sincerely believes that her pet dog from when she was a child left to join the Hollywood animal actors, right up until Carol told her the truth, and believes that having no insurance whatsoever is somehow better than being on her parents insurance.
  • Work Com: A newsroom.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: Parodied on "A Christmas Carol Wendelson", when Carol dreams that she's visited by three spirits who teach them the opposite lesson that Ebenezer Scrooge got: that she's too full of the Christmas sprit and comes off as overbearing instead of festive.
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