Editor's note: This week's Ecollywood column was so long, we split it in two. Read the other half, where the Dancing with the Stars cast reveals their eco-secrets.
“We recycle religiously. Not only is it required in the building we live in, it’s required in our household,” says TV journalist Paula Zahn, whose family of five also uses both sides of sheets of paper, takes shorter showers, turns the water off while brushing their teeth and gets multiple uses from towels before laundering them, “even though that’s difficult with teenage boys, considering the time they spend outdoors.” Her kids, she reports, are on board with her eco-policies. “They have a much stronger awareness than my generation had,” she says.
Nine-time Emmy winner Zahn is the host of the new Investigation Discovery series On the Case With Paula Zahn, “an hour-long show focusing on a single story -- stories about deceit, betrayal and murder. We have landed exclusive interviews and we’re going to hear from people who have never talked before, in a courtroom or in the press.” Cases will include the story of Randy Sidell, “a man who sat on death row for 17 years for a crime he didn’t commit.” The series premieres Oct. 18 at 10 p.m.
At the World Magic Awards, honoring the best in prestidigitation and benefiting Feed the Children, we had the chance to chat with several celebs about their eco-friendly routines. “There’s so many things to do -- recycle, shut off the water when you don’t need it and put it in a pan when you do the dishes. You have to make it a habit,” declared Louis Gossett Jr. “We have to do it for the next generation,” said the actor, who recently went to Kenya with Feed the Children. He has five movies in the can, including The Perfect Game and Tyler Perry’s Why Did I Get Married Too?, out in April.
Also there in support of Feed the Children, Daniel Baldwin (pictured right) told us he’s in the market for a biodiesel car. He’s ruled out an electric vehicle “because it doesn’t have the range. We live in Montecito, so we could drive around town, but L.A. is 100 miles each way,” he explained. He lives in a rented home now, “but we’d definitely consider putting a solar unit in a house we build,” he added. A magic fan, “I like trying to figure it out. I never can,” he said. He has several upcoming movies, including Ashley’s Ashes and Darker Reality, and is involved in the reality TV series Rent a Baldwin. “There are more Baldwins in it than me,” he noted. He’ll also reprise his role as road stalker Moe Kitchener on the Oct. 25 episode of Cold Case.
Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) recently got himself a Prius and cut down on the frequency of his showers from three to one daily, “and I don’t flush when I pee,” he admitted. Born in London and raised in his ancestral India, Nayyar plays the shy genius Rajesh Koothrappali on the sitcom, which has hit its ratings stride in its third season. “We all got better looking,” he quipped when asked why, then added more seriously, “It’s a word of mouth show, not in the tabloids like Gossip Girl so it took time to get it going.” Is he as shy around women as his character? “Not when I’m drunk so I guess in that case we’re the same,” he said.
The Office’s Kate Flannery is also car shopping, and may get a Prius, she said. A magic fan, she’s been to Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle a few times, but can’t do any tricks save one: “I can make a drink disappear,” she laughed. Having had a blast dancing with her castmates at the Office wedding of Jim and Pam, she’s working on the Christmas episode of the sitcom now. “Santa is going to be busy at Dunder Mifflin,” she confided.
Also planning to join the celebrity Prius club is Sonal Shah (Scrubs), a vegetarian who’s careful to buy products not tested on animals. Joining last season as intern Sunny, she’s seen big changes in the hospital sitcom, which will center on first-year medical students this season. Zach Braff is only slated to do six episodes, and Judy Reyes and Neil Flynn are gone, the latter now playing Patricia Heaton’s husband in The Middle. Shah happily reunited with Flynn to present an award during the World Magic Awards, which will air Nov. 19 on MyNetworkTV stations.
Tune in: The pursuit of natural gas resources has polluted communities and ruined the health of residents in the formerly pristine Rocky Mountains, an environmental tragedy that is the subject of Split Estate, a documentary airing on Planet Green Oct. 17 at 8 p.m.
Additional photos by Scott Kirkland/Globe Photos.