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Monday, November 05, 2007

NBC is going green this week; should it?

NBC is kicking off sweeps week with an environmental campaign. All this week, you’ll see eco-friendly messages throughout NBC programs.

For example, on Scrubs, after watching An Inconvenient Truth, the Janitor vows to savethe world by becoming the Environmental Officer at Sacred Heart. On My Name is Earl, the warden asks Earl to incorporate environmentally friendly “green” messages into a skit presentation. On Chuck, Chuck visits Stanford University for “Green Weekend.”

"By creatively weaving stories concerning environmental awareness into our series, we see this as an opportunity to engage the audience andprovide a positive social message," said Ben Silverman, co-chairman of NBC. "Our ultimate goal is to entertain people while creating a conversation about a universal issue."

While I’m all for going green, I don’t like my favorite programs creating dialogue touting what essentially is a commercial message. I hate it when product placement is so obvious that it detracts from the story. (See this week’s episode of Nip/Tuck for what can only be described as a 30-second commercial for Yoplait yogurt.)

I applaud NBC for using its power to get people talking about the environment, but I fear this is a dangerous precedent to set. What happens if the network decides that it must get out a message that Dell computers are superior? Will our favorite characters suddenly start declaring the excellence of Dell computers? I can just hear Scrubs’ JD to Turk, “Dude, you’re getting a Dell.”

Or what happens if the social message of the week is about the atrocities in Darfur? Will we see Earl raising money for the cause and ER sending doctors?

Perhaps I should have more faith in my favorite shows to weave in the green message subtlety. But, from the press release, it doesn’t seem that subtle is playing a part here. For example, on Las Vegas, the Montecito will host an environmental conference and Delinda takes up the cause to get the staff on board. On, Friday Night Lights, Tami’s sister hits the Taylor household to encourage the family to live a green lifestyle. On 30 Rock, the network pushes its green initiative by getting David Schwimmer to become the green mascot. (Al Gore and Meredith Vieira also guest star.)

Even Days of Our Lives and the late night talk shows are producing green messages. So, get set for a week full of TV preaching the greatness of green. I’m warning you now, do don’t kill the messenger.

For more information on the green initiative, visit this NBC Web site, Green is Universal, where you can find "The More You Know" eco-friendly messages from NBC stars, green blogs from the executive producers of shows such as Las Vegas, as well as videos which willfeature highlights from the shows, celebrity public serviceannouncements, and a behind-the-scenes look at Days of Our Lives star Peter Reckell's environmentally sound home.


stacey said...

To answer your question, yes, I think NBC should do this. Anything we can do to let people know there are things we can do to save this planet is a good thing.

Seth said...

I disagree. I'm all for saving the environment, too, but I don't want preached at during my shows. Geesh! Put in a commercial already.

weevilswobble said...

I think the social message is good, but I hate that these characters are delivering the message. I think it would be better suited for commercial breaks.

obxrules said...

kudos to NBC for trying to get out a relevant social message. I don't mind it if it's intertwined in the story well, and I think it will be. The Scrubs scenario sounds pretty funny.

Tim said...

it's a slippery slope, folks..I say, leave the social messages out...it may start with a network philosophy on 'going green', but who's to say what the next social message might be

spikeme20 said...

Yeah, I agree with TTG and Tim. I don't want to see Dr. Cox taking about Darfur or abandoned puppies. Slippery slope indeed.

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