Business & Media Institute 
Thursday, Nov 13, 2008
It seems General Electric, the parent company of NBC Universal, has decided to make its “Green Week” a pre-holiday tradition. Another installment of the environmentally-conscious week of programming has been set for Nov. 16-22.
According to an article in the Nov. 11 issue of PROMO magazine, NBC Universal will be “presenting 150 hours of environmental programming on air and online next week.” That will include ad spots from NBC’s on-air talent pushing eco-awareness and segments during the networks’ news coverage.
The week will include the network’s “Today” show repeating its “Ends of the Earth” series, which will somewhat ironically send the program’s four hosts on carbon-belching flights around the globe to talk about the dangers of climate change. The network has said it will “offset” the emissions, but has not detailed how that will undo the damage caused by all that air travel.
The 2007 “Ends of the Earth” series emitted an estimated 24.9 tons of carbon in one week. The average American is responsible for 7.5 tons of carbon emissions per year, according to the Web site for Al Gore’s movie “An Inconvenient Truth.”
(Article continues below)
NBC’s environmental correspondent Anne Thompson will also report on the energy challenges facing the incoming Obama administration, according to Richard Tedesco’s PROMO article.
“All next week, watch the networks of NBC Universal for special programming and tips to help you green your routine,” a Web ad promoting the occasion said.
The network will kick off its “Green Week” this year on its highly rated Sunday Night NFL Football show, “Football Night in America.” The hosts, which includes liberal hero and MSNBC “Countdown” host Keith Olbermann, will “talk about their Green Routines” according to the “Green is Universal” Web site.
Last year, the network performed a publicity stunt on its Nov. 4, 2007 “Football Night in America” for Green Week,using limited lighting for the broadcast and even going completely dark for the final moments of the program.
Earlier this year, the NBC Universal family of networks broadcast the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. WTHR, the NBC affiliate for Indianapolis, reported from Beijing and described the NBC set used for the network’s two highest rated news broadcasts, “NBC Nightly News” and “Today,” as air conditioned – even though it is outdoors, suggesting it wasn’t energy efficient or “green.”
Green Week may be a ratings stunt – NBC is in need of some help in that area. According to Zap2it.net, NBC lags fourth in the overall season-to-date ratings behind CBS, ABC and Fox, respectively. But NBC’s Green Week 2007 didn’t help much last year – the network still landed in fourth place for the week of Nov. 5, 2007, according to Nielsen Media Research