As if NBC's "Deal or No Deal" host, Howie Mandel, wasn't reptilian enough. This Friday, "Deal or No Deal" heightens the suspense with a guest appearance from Kermit the Frog. The message --"It's easy being green"-- is a dim take on the frog's famous lament about his unusual skin tone.
Kermit's cameo is part of NBC Universal's newest environmental campaign, "Green is Universal." In addition to environmentally streamlining operations worldwide, the corporation, owned by General Electric, has unleashed a week-long green-programming blitz across all NBC affiliated television shows, stations, and networks. From Telemundo to Bravo to the Cartoon Network, NBC has rolled out a green carpet for their widely diverse viewing public.
The green-media bombardment literally kicked off this past Sunday, when "Football Night in America: Philadelphia vs. Dallas" went dark for one minute--as if to offset blaring stadium lights and the energy used to feed Philadelphia's linebackers. During halftime, Dallas Cowboy's cheerleaders physically interpreted the global warming crisis with a Rockettes-style kick-line at midfield. "R-E-C-Y-C-L-E/ It's our planet/ let's plant a tree!"
"Echoing green across the screen" seems to be NBC's move. Starting Monday morning, "The Today Show" will broadcast Matt Lauer from the Arctic, Ann Curry from Antarctica, and Al Roker from the equator (hmmmm, I wonder who got lucky on this one?). In a simultaneous global circumference television event, the anchors chatted over climate change and species extinction.
Those outside of prime time are getting in on the action, too. The Sci Fi Channel had an "aware" episode of "Flash Gordon" followed by a "Dangerously Changing Planet" movie night. Bravo's Tim Gunn tells us to "Make it work . . . for the planet;" while "SVU" wants us to police for polluters. Even "Jerry Springer" is "going green."
Get ready though, because tomorrow, November 8th, the Peacock goes fully green as the entire Thursday night lineup - "The Office," "My Name Is Earl," "30 Rock," "Heroes" and "Deal or No Deal" gets an eco-theme. The environmental Godfather himself, Al Gore, will even cameo on comedy show "30 Rock."
In addition to producing an overwhelming 150 hours of environmentally-focused television, NBC Universal has also teamed up with sustainability consultancy, Green Order, best known for helping organizations from Walmart to The Environmental Protection Agency. The corporation plans to build its new West Coast Headquarters under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED(R) guidelines.
Of course NBC's "Green is Universal" campaign is a juicy example of green-washing hypocrisy. Perhaps criticism is inevitable when a major General Electric-owned television corporation claims to "go green." On the other hand, I must admit I am quite excited to tune in to tomorrow's must-see eco-marathon. Yes, Hayden Panettiere and "Heroes" gives me the heaves, but I applaud any corporation that takes massive and public steps to educate others and green its operations worldwide.
So congratulations NBC and keep it coming. Whoot whoot! Come Friday and after 150 hours of green-themed TV, I'll most likely have a less enthusiastic response.
To learn more about what NBC Universal is doing and to view the NBC green-programming schedule, visit NBC's Green Is Universal website.