Specialty and public TV channels are celebrating the 39th anniversary of Earth Day with eco-oriented specials and premieres designed to inform, educate, and entertain.
Planet Green launches “Turn Back the Temp” week Apr. 19 at 9 PM with Focus Earth: Six People Saving Our Planet hosted by Bob Woodruff, followed by two new episodes of Emeril Green on Apr. 20 at 9 PM, focusing on an eco-friendly kids’ birthday party and an RV kitchen. The same timeslot on Apr. 21 features a new episode of Total Wrecklamation, and one of the two new installments of Wa$ted! On Apr. 22 at 9 features the greening of a sorority house. On Apr. 24 at 8 PM, Renovation Nation showcases a rainwater tank installation in Arizona and a solar-powered doghouse in Texas, then host Steve Thomas helps Jon & Kate Plus 8 Go Green at 9 PM.
HGTV’s House Hunters premieres the new episode Going Green in Asheville Apr. 22 at 9 PM, and Earth Day also marks the launch of its Change the World, Start at Home Campaign, a community revitalization program that will renovate veterans’ homes around the country and offer green living tips via Public Service Announcements starring Carter Can host Carter Oosterhouse, who’ll makeover two veterans’ facilities next month in Philadelphia and St. Louis. “We’re going to bring in as many green elements as we can,” says the carpenter, who’ll spend Earth Day in New York, taping an episode of The Rachael Ray Show.
Sundance Channel premieres the new series Eco Trip: The Real Cost of Living hosted by British adventure traveler David de Rothschild (pictured right) on Apr. 21 at 9 PM, focusing on the environmental impact of such products as bottled water, cell phones, salmon, chocolate and cotton tee shirts. It’s followed at 10 PM by the documentary Flow: For the Love of Water, about the ramifications of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply.
Fine Living Network will air four back-to-back hours of its new series Green With Envy on Apr. 22 from 1-4 PM, exploring such subjects as fair trade and sustainability, green design, clothing, travel and food. Martha Stewart’s Green Living will follow at 5 PM, and the myth-busting Big Green Lies separates eco-fact from fiction at 9PM.
On PBS, a panel of experts discusses our energy future in Planet Forward, a special airing Apr. 15 at 8 PM. Green Builders (Apr.19 10:30 PM) profiles leaders in the design and construction biz, and the Poisoned Waters episode of Frontline focuses on the hazardous deterioration of Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay (Apr. 21 at 9 PM). Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures’ latest expedition Call of the Killer Whales is all about the orca, including Keiko, the Free Willy star. It premieres Apr. 22 at 9 PM.
For younger environmentalists, PBS Kids will premiere green-themed episodes of such shows as Superwhy and Maya & Miguel on Earth Day and Nickelodeon will do the same on its iCarly, True Jackson VP and other series on Apr. 22. Nick News will premiere the Linda Ellerbee-hosted special A Kid Off the Grid, spotlighting energy-saving children and their parents, including Ed Begley Jr. and his daughter Hayden (Apr. 19, 9 PM). On Disney Channel, Cody tries to make the cruise ship greener on Suite Life on Deck (Apr. 17, 8 PM), Handy Manny helps plant a tree (Apr. 18, 9 AM), and Wizards of Waverly Place’s Justin learns about natural resources (Apr. 19, 8:30 PM).
With a certain fellow Charlie’s Angel setting an example, Drew Barrymore can’t help but live green. ”My best friend chases me around my house, turning off all my lights,” says Barrymore, referring to pal Cameron Diaz. “She is such a good environmentalist. She is teaching me,” says Barrymore, who’s winning raves for her portrayal of ‘Little Edie” Bouvier Beale in HBO’s Grey Gardens, about the high society mother and daughter who wound up living in squalor in a dilapidated East Hampton mansion.
The role, spanning four decades, required considerable physical and vocal transformation from Barrymore. “I worked as hard as I have on anything I’ve ever done,” says the actress, who’ll play Robert DeNiro’s daughter in the road trip comedy Everybody’s Fine in the fall and appear opposite Ellen Page in the roller derby flick Whip It!, which marks her directorial debut. Grey Gardens premieres Apr. 18 on HBO.
“I’m a recycling nut,” declares Kristin Chenoweth, pronouncing herself “a little more aware than I used to be” about environmental issues. “I think that as you get older you are,” says the actress-singer, who requested that her recent Christmas album be released in eco-friendly cardboard packaging instead of plastic.
This week, Chenoweth lends her distinctive kewpie-doll voice to the new animated Fox faculty comedy Sit Down, Shut Up (Apr. 19, 8:30 PM), playing a science teacher named Miracle Grohe. “Yeah, I could have used some of that,” laughs the petite actress, referring to the character’s namesake plant food.
Chenoweth has an equally unique moniker in the pilot for David E. Kelley’s new series Legally Mad -- she plays a feisty lawyer named Skippy Pylon. She’ll also voice the title character in the upcoming Rapunzel movie, due from Disney in 2010. Her memoir A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love and Faith in Stages was just released.
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