"This used to be a soda bottle." So says the print on the lanyard securing my FOX press credential at the TCAs (Television Critics Association) -- a two-week long conference at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in the very same ballroom the Golden Globes are held, where stars and execs from all the net and cable channels trot out new and returning shows.
Tommy Lee and Ludacris from Planet Green's Battleground Earth
While we can't answer why -- with 200-plus channels -- most TV fare is lame, we can fist-bump the industry for making green strides onscreen and behind the scenes. (Even watching FOX News' latest star Karl Rove smirking on a panel didn't curb our enthusiasm, but more on that later.)
What do you do when Japanese whale hunters ignore the laws (or find a "scientific expedition" loophole), killing more of these magnificent mammals in the past twenty years than ever before? You sic a radical sea-faring crew of eco-pirates on them, of course.
In Animal Planet's intense documentary "Whale Wars" (airs in November), the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, headed by Captain Paul Watson, engage in sea battles with the hunters -- ships are rammed, stink bombs tossed, anti-whaling declarations are broadcast over loud speakers, and whales are chased to safety.
During one confrontation, Watson was shot in the chest (thankfully, he wore a bullet-proof vest), and in another, a grenade was lobbied onto the Sea Shepherd. The Japanese threaten that the fight will get even nastier. But Watson, who was a Greenpeace founder, is unperturbed: "Whaling has no place in the 21st century. Sea Shepherd will not stop until the killing ends."
The showdown between Paul Watson's Sea Shepherd Society and whalers is featured in Animal Planet's "Whale Wars."
A less serious clash pits metal rocker Tommy Lee against rapper Ludacris in Planet Green's "Battleground: Earth," and both talked up their personal green changes. Ludacris just purchased a GM Tahoe hybrid and says he's in the process of plopping solar panels atop his Atlanta home. "Georgia is one of the few states that I know you can charge the power company back for the energy you don't use," he said.
Tommy Lee is attempting to get off the grid, too, and said, "I've also been talking to the fake...the grass company, man." (Attempting comedy, a reporter asked if Lee got the same buzz off this alternative grass.) "And of course recycling with my kids and stuff at the house. So it's all up."
Does Tommy Lee help keep on-again-off-again ex Pamela Anderson green? He won't say, but he may want to check out actress Isabella Rossellini's latest sex tape, which involves bees and dragonflies getting it on.
The Sundance Channel's "Green Porno" is a series of two-minute flicks written and directed by the "Blue Velvet" actress, who tells TV Guide: "When I was little, I saw a rose full of aphids. Looking at what those bugs did was pretty extraordinary. Years later, when Robert Redford said he wanted environmental shorts, I thought 'bug sex' because it's so outrageous!"
Isabella Rossellini in Sundance Channel's "Green Porno"
Like learning that saucy mollusks engage in rough foreplay? Or how about the praying mantis: "While they're mating the female eats up the male and the male continues to mate until he's completely eaten and dead," Rossellini told CNN. "With a lot of insects, a lot of females eat the male."
Back to outrageousness and Fox news. (Nice segue, I know.) Even though they hired Karl Rove as a contributor (and in the interest of fair and balanced, I should mention they also brought in Dem strategist Howard Wolfson as their "offset"), the FOX net gets kudos for their conference's green efforts.
New FOX head of publicity Shannon Ryan informs that besides the eco-friendly lanyards, "We're using napkins, signage, notepads and binder paper made from recycled materials and biodiesel mini coaches to transport [audience members to the after party where Fox also brought in alternative energy sources]."
Now if they can only figure out how to recycle Karl Rove into a praying mantis.
Enter your city or zip code to get your local temperature and air quality and find local green food and recycling resources near you.