Ecollywood: Cousteau grandchildren coming to a TV near you
Plus: Regis recycles (who knew?) and George Lopez has a drinking problem. Sort of.
Thu, Aug 06, 2009 at 05:50 AM
MAKING GRANDPA PROUD: Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau, grandchildren of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, are hosting an eco-show this month. (Photo courtesy Planet Green)
Planet Green is focusing on the deep blue sea this month with its ocean-centric Blue August programming, hosted by Philippe and Alexandra Cousteau, grandchildren of oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and like their cousins Céline and Fabien Cousteau, continue his work and document it on film. “We’re the hosts and are in the interstitials, intros, et cetera that take people on a journey. We have a very robust Web presence and we’ll be working on blogs, op-eds and tips, sweepstakes, behind the scenes and outtakes of us filming,” says the photogenic Philippe, for whom TV nevertheless is “a means to an end,” to educate and inspire.
An advisor for the Smithsonian’s new Oceans Hall and with Alexandra, co-founder of Earth Echo International, a youth leadership and education nonprofit “that brings oceans and the environment to the forefront,” Philippe is working on a film about the Chesapeake Bay and co-hosts Oceans, a BBC series that will air later this year on Discovery Channel. For him, carrying on his grandfather’s legacy with his sister is “a tremendous honor and a tremendous responsibility. We seek to continue inspiring people.”
Off screen, he lives near the Metro in Washington, D.C. “I use public transportation as much as I can, buy local food as much as possible, use organic bedding and cleaning products. I do offsets,” he says, “but the best thing is to reduce.”
Blue August includes the Planet Green premiere of the eight-part series Blue Planet, airing Monday nights at 9 and 10 p.m.
Regis Philbin is doing his part to save trees as he prepares for hosting Regis & Kelly each weekday morning. “For 26 years now, they’ve been sending me a big brown envelope with all my notes in it. And it occurred to me, why don’t we just use one envelope? So I bring it in every day. It’s not much, but a beginning,” says Philbin, who’ll be back in prime time starting Aug. 9 as host of ABC’s Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, returning for a 11-night run. “I missed it a lot,” he admits, realizing just how much while watching the Oscar-winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. The 10th anniversary edition comes with a couple of new twists. “There’s an additional lifeline in the form of an expert, and at the end of the show, one celebrity a night will answer one question, and if he or she gets it right, it’s $50,000 to their favorite charity.”
Following Millionaire at 9 p.m. is the debut of Shark Tank, a new reality series from producer Mark Burnett (Survivor, The Apprentice) in which wannabe or struggling entrepreneurs, inventors and small business owners pitch a panel of billionaires, hoping to get them to invest. An early episode will include a great eco-idea: practical items made from used, sanitized chopsticks. “Wine holders, lampshades, fruit bowls. Fantastic,” raves Burnett, who is currently casting the next Celebrity Apprentice and is in Samoa for the start of production on Survivor 20. The 19th edition, also shot in Samoa, kicks off Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. on CBS, and Shark Tank will move to Tuesdays on Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
“We use recyclable bags and we all use the same cup when we drink water — the whole family, one cup,” jokes comedian George Lopez, who’ll offer up more snappy quips in his HBO special Tall, Dark & Chicano, debuting live from San Antonio, Texas, on HBO Aug. 8. “It’s a military town. I’m dedicating the special to the men and women of the armed forces,” says Lopez, who’ll host a weeknight talk show on TBS starting in November. The former sitcom star will also co-host the ALMA Awards with Eva Longoria Parker on ABC Sept. 18.
Were it not for his eponymous show’s success in syndication, “I’m not sure that I would jump back into TV, especially something that seems very difficult,” admits Lopez, who’ll hopes to book a diverse array of “the best actors, musical guests and comedians in the business” on his nightly show. On the big screen in January in The Spy Next Door as the CIA chief who “gets knocked out by Jackie Chan four out of the five times I see him” and in Valentine’s Day with Ashton Kutcher Feb. 12, Lopez looks forward to his 11 p.m. TV slot. “The goal is to do a show so great that people who are out there with black boxes actually want to turn themselves in and pay for cable!”
Additional photo credits: Regis Philbin by Donna Svennevik/ABC; George Lopez by Janet Van Tam/HBO.