Former MSNBC host Thomas Roberts has launched a Facebook Live show “Gay Good News” to highlight positive news regarding the LGBTQ community during these challenging times.
While working at CNN in 2006, he became the first national broadcast anchor to publicly come out as gay, before Don Lemon and Anderson Cooper.
He spent many years with MSNBC as a host and reporter, with appearances on NBC News and “The Today Show” as well.
Roberts moved to Atlanta in 2018 and worked for about a year at CBS46 before leaving last year.
Roberts, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said with so many LGBTQ Pride Month events canceled in June, he felt he could provide an outlet to fill the gap.
“We can take this platform and celebrate things,” he said during his first episode that aired June 8. “We want your voice to be amplified... We hope to do something really fun and really special because we’ve been through a weird moment with isolation. For me, it’s deeply personal.”
He plans to do three shows a week, about 25 to 30 minutes apiece.
Roberts debuted his first show from his Atlanta abode on Monday with an interview with wise-cracking actor Leslie Jordan, whose Instagram follows ballooned to 4.7 million during the pandemic thanks to his hilarious video commentaries.
“He is the best thing to come out of COVID!” Roberts said. “There’s that charm and wit, a raw vulnerability you can see through Instagram.”
Robert admitted he is not the most technically savvy. His first episode featured Jordan on Robert’s laptop, so the sound was subpar.
So he switched to Zoom for his second episode June 10 featuring Atlanta interior designer Vern Yip, But Roberts struggled to get his intro up for a couple of minutes. He even brought in his husband, Patrick Abner, an associate director at Merck, for a cameo.
Since Roberts left CBS46 last summer, he has nabbed a couple of TV roles playing a broadcaster: on the second season of Amazon Prime’s “The Boys” in Toronto and an upcoming Netflix superhero comedy film “Thunder Force” starring Melissa McCarthy and Octavia Spencer.
He admits the pandemic has been tough for him.
“I was basically going stir-crazy,” he said. “I didn’t have work to distract me. I just watched TV all day with all these ominous feelings of doom and gloom.”
That’s what led to “Gay Good News.”
He said the name of his show is in homage to actor John Krasinski’s wildly popular pandemic-themed show “Some Good News.”
“Imitation is the greatest form of flattery,” Roberts said. “There are so many good things happening in the world and it’s easy to lose sight of that. We need more good news!”
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