Tune in as TV Turns on to the Environment

The CW network (you know: the one that rose from the ashes of the WB and UPN), has lately been struggling for that ever-desirable youth viewership. As part of their effort to ensnare the youngsters, they've developed a green theme both corporation-wide and in their CW programming. Free to be Green (their very ‘70s, Marlo-Thomas-esque title for the initiative) will have one of the girlfriends in Girlfriends purchasing a hybrid, and on Everybody Hates Chris, the television family modeled after Chris Rock's, will celebrate the first Earth Day.


Meanwhile, the environment in crisis is all over the Sci-Fi Channel (in the titular town of Eureka), and every time the show touches on an environmental issue, a special "Eureka moment" banner will appear on screen to direct viewers to more information on the channel's website.

The Discovery Channel (Planet Earth), and the Sundance Channel (with their prime-time block “The Green”) are also knee-deep in eco-friendliness. Next year, Discovery will repurpose its home channel into an all-environment, all-the-time station. The Travel Channel has pimped Jeff Corwin's Into Alaska in promos as a "green getaway." And that's not even getting into how many networks covered Live Earth (a lot).

Next to jump into the fray will be The DIY Network, which is adding their own block of green prime-time programming on Saturdays, and MTV Switch is making like CW and aiming their network-wide eco messages (through PSAs, programming, and on their website) straight at the youth market.

Sci Fi's general manager David Howe explains the philosophy behind networks' actions: "If we have to wait for the federal government to act, it may be too late." In other words, get someone pretty to deliver the message and a lot more people will hear it and act on it. And the CW is not alone in thinking this new green spirit will attract the kiddos: Howe also attributes interest in such causes to the kids today with their green hair and their green thoughts. At least if they’re wasting a perfectly good day in front of the TV, some of this programming might inspire them to think outside the idiot box.