If you’re looking for a light-hearted, family friendly program that celebrates regular Americans doing things that have to get done, then I’m afraid there’s nothing new for you to watch. Believe me, I’ve checked. But, as the saying goes, it’s not an old joke if you’re hearing it for the first time. And it now appears that Somebody’s Gotta Do It, after ten years of bouncing around on various channels and networks, finally seems to be finding its audience – on YouTube. This segment for instance, on The Mutter Museum, was seen by roughly 300,000 people when it premiered on CNN back in 2014. Two weeks ago, I posted the same segment on You Tube, and as of this morning, it’s been viewed over a million times. What’s up with that?
You could fill a book with I don’t understand about television, and you could fill an even bigger book, with what I don’t understand about YouTube. (I’m still not sure why they restricted my commencement speech for Prager University.) What I do know, however, is that good content – sooner or later – will always find an audience. And Somebody’s Gotta Do It – modesty aside – is good content. Is it “must-see reality TV?” No. There’s no manufactured drama, no artificial deadlines, and no prizes to be won. There are no stakes, in other words. Nobody gets chopped or stabbed in the back. Nobody discovers they’re nine months pregnant, and nobody is ever seen naked or afraid, (especially at the same time.) It’s just an honest look at a bunch of people I think you should know, doing cool stuff.
In the comments on YouTube, lots of people compare Somebody’s Gotta Do It to Parts Unknown. That’s quite a compliment. Obviously, Tony and I were very different people with very different interests, and our respective shows have a different vibe. But we did share a similar curiosity about people, and a similar suspicion of television that relied too much on a second take. And we were both damn lucky to be able to produce TV shows that reflected that, and to find an audience who appreciated it. I didn’t expect it to happen for SGDI on YouTube, but like I said, I’m wrong more than I’m right. But delighted, nevertheless. Honestly, it’s enough to make me wonder if I should reboot the whole series and shoot a new season.
PS. I’m posting one of these segments every week for the rest of the year, including footage from the mysterious “Season 4” which was filmed, but never aired. It’s full of good stuff. So, as the kids say, please like and subscribe…
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