We had an interview scheduled with Pivot’s “TakePart Live” co-anchor Jacob Soboroff this week, but his show was unexpectedly and abruptly canceled before we could actually get together. We spoke with Soboroff anyway, to get talk about his future plans and what he’ll miss about the short-lived nightly news program.
TVNewser: We’re sorry to hear “TakePart Live” has been canceled, how does this experience shape your career?
Soboroff: Hey thanks! It was unreal, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I got to host a live, nightly news and talk show that put Larry King and T-Pain together to auto tune the news and quiz people inside my 2000 Florida recount voting machine on Hollywood Boulevard! Yes, I own a voting machine. I’m a civics nerd.
The cherry on top is working with some of my idols in the industry: Participant Media, a company that cares as much about social change as it does the bottom line, and our production company Embassy Row, the folks behind “Watch What Happens Live” and “Talking Dead,” two shows I love. I think I felt like Kobe must have playing for Phil Jackson in the triangle offense. Or CP3 playing for Doc. Yes, I’m a Clippers fan.
TVNewser: We recently had 5 Questions for your “TPL” co-anchor Baratunde Thurston and he seemed very optimistic about the future of the show. What happened?
Soboroff: I love Baratunde. And Meghan McCain, our third co-host. I’ll miss hanging out with them nightly. I think we made such a fun show, and a different kind of news show. One that put the audience first and was entertaining. I mean we highlighted veterans issues by having me body slammed by a pro wrestler. After hosting “YouTube Nation” this year for YouTube and DreamWorks, and “HuffPost Live” before that, I have seen incredible communities form around news and information shows online. I think it’s harder, but not impossible, to build that kind of interactive community through TV. Also, maybe I should have gotten a haircut. But my wife would not be into that.
TVNewser: So, will you be staying with Pivot in some capacity or moving on? Any projects lined up?
Soboroff: I’m talking about a few things. I have always wanted to do a show about the dumbest laws in the United States, and actually push to overturn them. Been working on that. Oh man, there are so many of them. Did you know it’s illegal to wear a fake mustache in an Alabama church? And to have a bath tub in your house in Virginia! And to sell ice cream after 6PM in New Jersey! Not kidding. So dumb it’s funny. And of course more serious ones, like the law that set voting on Tuesday leaving so many people disenfranchised. This gets me real riled up.
And yes, I will be staying on with Pivot… talking now about what that will look like. Like I said, love those folks.
TVNewser: How important is it for young people to watch, and comprehend, the news?
Soboroff: Crucial. “The news” is happening all around us every day. But what does it all mean? I know that’s what I struggled with growing up. For me the key is how you experience it and how we discuss it with each other, and those are the types of projects I am interested in and the type of content I love being a part of. Where the news feels more like a conversation with friends and people you respect and admire. Sometimes I watch the news or read an article and feel like I just sat down two weeks into a history class. Maybe I am just easily confused. But I feel like there are more people out there like me.
TVNewser: On a lighter note, you used to be a news correspondent at AMC. Are you more of “Mad Men” or “The Walking Dead” kind of guy?
Soboroff: “Mad Men” hands down. Zombies freak me out. Can’t handle it. Plus I got to hang around the cast and crew a lot during my AMC days, right when “Mad Men” was starting out. They couldn’t be nicer people. “Mad Men” is one of the few shows I watch every episode of, still. One time I saw Roger Sterling in the ocean when I was surfing. Maybe my best surf experience ever, and let’s be honest I probably didn’t even catch a wave.