NBC nixes TV’s only global climate change show during “Green Week”


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 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….

’nuff said.

12 Responses to NBC nixes TV’s only global climate change show during “Green Week”

  1. Steve Bloom says:

    OT, but speaking of cars (and a good subject for a post IMHO):

    According to this article, a Chinese company is just now rollng out a plug-in hybrid with an 80 mile battery range (double that of the Volt), and wll bring it to the U.S. in 2010. It sounds as if the asking price will be substantially less than the Volt’s $40K. They plan to launch a full electric next year. I’m no judge of technology or business plans, but Warren Buffett just bought a 10% stake in the company.

    ‘”We are experts in the battery market,” Li said. “We have the know-how and the process down. We make the safest batteries in the world. We have never had a recall.”

    ‘This expertise in batteries is at the heart of BYD’s strategy for taking over the auto industry, which it entered in 2003 after purchasing a government-owned auto plant. In a short time, BYD has become a top seller in China. Currently, BYD makes five models of fuel-powered sedans and hatchbacks, ranging from $8,000 to $20,000.

    ‘For its electric cars, BYD developed a lithium-ion battery that uses iron. Using iron brings down the cost of the battery and offers a life cycle of up to 10 years — five times a cell phone battery, Li said. The F3DM, BYD’s plug-in electric hybrid, will allow drivers to run on electricity and gas, seamlessly switching between the two. It boasts extremely low emissions, plugs into a household socket and can go 300 miles on a full tank and a full charge. The company has yet to set a price, but estimates range upward of $20,000.

    ‘The company is developing a purely electric vehicle that it plans to launch to Chinese consumers in 2009, Li said. It will be a matter of time before the E6, a full-size sedan that seats five, arrives in the U.S. In the company’s glossy showroom, a sign calls the car “Faddy, Faithworthy and Futuramic.”

    ‘”The hybrid is a good introductory product,” Li said. “Until electric vehicles are more popular, the charging stations don’t exist. This will allow people to drive farther without worrying about it.”‘

    According to this NYT article (whose author seems to be completely unaware of the Chinese company), GM is staking everythng on the Volt. I’d say they’re toast.

  2. peterv says:

    I can’t get too worked up about Jay’s car collection. It’s a celebration of times past and what better place to have them than in a museum where they are driven little if at all. And correct me if I’m wrong but doesn’t Jay regularly drive a Model T or A to the studio?

  3. Kathy N. says:

    Hey Steve ever seen the Doc titled China from the Inside? It is an eye opener about the current state of Pollution in China. The price of the cars and the batteries cost less not only because of lower labor costs but also they don’t have the enviromental cost we do. Your right we don’t compare in cost of these cars or the avalibility but the cost is higher than you think to the worlds looming crisis of pollution that affects us all. They talk a good game of being on top of the Climate Crisis but the look inside says not really. They have a comittee of propaganda that works in the open inside the country and their stated purpose is that only information approved by the goverment is ever to be taken as fact. They also have the authority to supress any information from any source they (the committee) deems Against The Goverments Interest. We are behind in everything to do with Climate Change and we have had the old “No Smoking is not bad for your health we swear” ploy used on us by Big oil, Coal and the Auto indusrties when it comes to Climate Change but times are a changing and so is the climate so we will see very so I think how many people have really been taken in by the cheap shots on Climate Change.Does NBC really think it won’t sink the ratings? live and learn.

  4. Papertiger says:

    Ding dong the witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Weather Witch!
    Ding dong the weather witch is dead!
    Wake up – sleepy head, rub your eyes, get out of bed.
    Wake up, the Weather Witch is dead. She’s gone where the goblins go,
    Below – below – below. Yo-ho, let’s open up and sing and ring the bells out.
    Ding Dong’ the merry-oh, sing it high, sing it low.
    Let them know
    The Weather Witch is dead!

    As Mayor of the Munchkin City, In the County of the Land of Oz, I welcome you most regally.
    But we have to verify it legally.
    To see…
    To see?
    If she…
    If she?
    Is morally, ethic’lly
    Spiritually, physically
    Positively, absolutely
    Undeniably and reliably Dead.
    [Call the Coroner]

    As Coroner I must aver,
    I thoroughly examined her.
    And she’s not only merely dead,
    she’s really most sincerely dead.

    Then this is a day of Independence For all the Munchkins and their descendants
    Yes, let the joyous news be spread. The wicked Weather Witch at last is dead!

    {or cancelled as the case may be, So I can drive my SUV.}


  5. paulm says:

    NASA scientist cites ‘global-warming emergency’
    “We’ve reached a point where we have a crisis, an emergency, but people don’t know that,” Hansen told a packed Stanford audience Thursday night.
    Hansen, who first warned about climate change in testimony to Congress in the late 198s, said a path out of the crisis is, “barely, still possible.”

  6. Papertiger says:

    Poor Jimmy, preaching to the choir. Giving a speech in San Fran is the equivalent of a retreat. Pulling back to regroup.

    BTW did you know that Stanford’s school motto is “Die Luft der Freiheit weht”?
    It’s German and it roughly translates as “This school blows”.


  7. Dear Friends,

    Science is indisputably the finest source for gaining an adequate understanding of the way the world we inhabit actually works and for accurately enough grasping the “placement” of the human species within the order of living things on Earth. But, as others have noted with such clarity and coherence, too many world-class scientists have treated the human overpopulation of Earth as a taboo topic and, even worse, perniciously participated in the politicization of the science of climate change. Barack Obama cannot know whatsoever could somehow be true, in large part, because so many scientists have failed to reasonably assume their responsibilities to science as well as to sensibly fulfill their duties as scientists.

    Rather than do what I have been doing over the past 7 years by extolling the virtues of good science, today I am going to try something different.

    What follows is a brief artistic expression that is intended to convey a symbolic meaning parallel to but distinct from, and more significant than, the literal meaning.

    Please consider an allegory: that a titanic struggle between human beings and the natural world is in the offing. It seems this struggle is fulminating now precisely because too many leaders of the 6.7 billion {soon to be 9+ billion} members of the human family generally do not share the distinctly scientific, evidence-based perspective of many within the Climate Progress community. Many too many of our brothers and sisters, especially those with great wealth and power, pompously and erroneously believe that human organisms are separate from, and somehow superior to, life as we know it on Earth.

    At least to me, it appears that an epochal contest is taking shape on the far horizon between the ‘team’ of “mother culture and father profit” on one side and ‘Team’ Mother Nature on the other.

    This could be the greatest show on Earth in 10,000 years.

    The team of “mother culture and father profit” appears adamant in its willful intentionality to stay the same old business-as-usual course of recklessly overconsuming limited natural resources; relentlessly expanding large-scale production and distribution capabilities without regard to physical limitations of the natural world; and overpopulating our planetary home, come what may for children and coming generations, biodiversity, the environment and the Earth’s body.

    Team Mother Nature simply is.

    Which team will likely be seen by reasonable and sensible observers as winning the contest for success in 2012, 2020 and 2050, if the human community continues its idolatry of distinctly human overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities by choosing forevermore unbridled overgrowth activities just as we are doing now?

    If the leaders of the family of humanity do not choose change, do you have any ideas about which team will prevail and when will the outcome of the colossal contest no longer be in doubt?



    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

  8. Steve Bloom says:

    Papertiger, sweetie, you can think of Stanford as the capital of Silicon Valley. Perhaps you’ve heard of the latter.

    Kathy N., I’m all too aware that China is a totalitarian country with serious pollution problems. That’s not going to help GM out of their competitive pickle.

  9. Papertiger says:

    Thank you Salmony, for being honest about your position regarding the next generations. It’s refreshing to finally meet an Al Gore backer who doesn’t cloak his dogma in touchie feelie claptrap about saving the planet for the kids.

  10. Is NBC going to introduce something else in place? Was this decision linked to any analysis of audience sizes and/or pressure from advertisers?

  11. Papertiger says:

    When social darwinists marry climate change malthusians, the reasonable person doesn’t trouble his mind deciding which side of the congregation to sit in.
    Instead he prays for rain on the ceremonies.

    That’s what I’ll be doing.

  12. Sadquark says:

    I’m confused which side of this debate, if there really is a debate anymore, you are on Paper. It seems to me that, without positing any defensable position of your own and simply taking potshots from the safeseats, all you actually accomplish is irritation, which actually incites your opposition to a greater and more ardent defence of their position.

    True, it fits the name, but it seems awfully pedantic to me and if your goal is to actually pursuade folks not to believe that the Earth G.A.T. isn’t rising due to human influence, then you’re failing in a rather spectacular way.

    If your goal is just to forum troll, well then…wow. You need to reevaluate the worth of how you spend the time you are alotted in this life.

    Steve, any idea as to whether or not the chinese company in question plans to import these vehicles or build them here long term?