Greenwashing is universal, at least at NBC.
Last year, I pointed out the uber-lameness of NBC’s “Green is Universal” week (see “NBC’s Vast Green Wasteland or Lipstick on a Pig“). This year’s was worse. The few NBC primetime shows I watch don’t even seem to bother anymore — if any readers actually saw any green programming outside of the news division, let me know.
But the real farce for NBC is that in the middle of their greenwashing exercise they fired the Weather Channel’s Environmental Unit! You cannot make this stuff up.
OK, in theory, if you were a writer for an NBC show, you could make this stuff up and put it on in the middle of Green Week, but it’d have to be on a ridiculous sitcom that derisively mocks the network, like 30 Rock. Here’s the story:
NBC Universal made the first of potentially several rounds of staffing cuts at The Weather Channel (TWC) on Wednesday, axing the entire staff of the “Forecast Earth” environmental program during the middle of NBC’s “Green Week,” as well as several on-camera meteorologists. The layoffs totaled about 10 percent of the workforce, and are the first major changes made since NBC completed its purchase of the venerable weather network in September.
The layoffs affected about 80 people, but left the long-term leadership of the network unclear, according to a source who requested anonymity due to the continuing uncertainty at the station.
Among the meteorologists who was let go was Dave Schwartz, a Weather Channel veteran and a viewer staple due to his lively on camera presentations. USA Today reported that meteorologists Cheryl Lemke and Eboni Deon were also let go.
The timing of the Forecast Earth cancellation was ironic, since it came in the middle of NBC’s “Green is Universal” week, during which the network has been touting its environmental coverage across all of its platforms. Forecast Earth normally aired on weekends, but its presumed last episode was shown on a weekday due to the environmentally-oriented week.
Forecast Earth was hosted by former CNN anchor Natalie Allen, with contributions from climate expert Heidi Cullen. It was the sole program on TWC that focused on global climate change, which raises the question of whether the station will still report on the subject. Cullen’s future role at the network is not known.
Yes, the first credo of environmentalists is “Reduce, reuse, recycle.” And lord knows NBC reuses and recycles crap better than most — Knight Rider anyone? But reducing their environmental programming during environment week?
Irony can be so damn ironic.
Cullen is great. I believe she had the only regular show on any network devoted to global warming.
One final point — if you go to www.nbc.com/Green you’ll see “Jay Leno’s Garage” touting a bunch of green cars, including a natural gas vehicle, an electric (Tesla), a plug in, and 2 fuel cell vehicles. Now, forget the FCVs and forget the fact that most people couldn’t real buy or use any of those cars, at least they tried, sort of.
But if you actually go to Jay Leno’s Garage (click here), you’ll see the Porsche 911, the Aston Martin DBS, the 1989 Bentley Turbo, the 2002 Corvette Z06….