Fox launched its fall season in eco-friendly style with its annual Fall Eco-Casino Party at the BookBindery, where efforts to neutralize the event's carbon footprint included the use of diesel-powered trucks, LED lighting, silverware and glass plates and cups instead of disposables, recycled casino chips, reusable signage printed on recycled material, electronic invitations and guest list, rented furniture, fixtures, décor and carpet, hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles for talent transport, waste recycling and a menu featuring organic dairy, meat and poultry and locally grown organic produce. Ford's 2012 Focus Electric car was on display at the entrance, and attendees like Paula Abdul and Chris Colfer spun a wheel to allocate money for eco-charities. $25,000 was raised for Habitat For Humanity of Greater Los Angeles, The Nature Conservancy and Heal the Bay.
Some lucky attendees won prize packages that included an iPad 2 and a month loan of the Focus Electric. Several celebrities were among the winners. Jaime Pressly of "I Hate My Teenage Daughter" won a gift certificate from Eco Friendly Maid, a consultation with The Compostess, and modular gardens from Wooly Pockets. Howie Mandel, whose "Mobbed" flash mob show returns in November, scored a Schwinn bicycle, and "Fringe" star John Noble won an eco-makeover for his home and a stay at the Ambrose Hotel in Santa Monica. "I've learned as years go by to be more green, more in the food that I eat than anything else. We're pretty fully organic," Noble said earlier. On set, "We've tried to waste less paper. We still use too much, but we recycle it."
In the fourth season of "Fringe," which premieres Sept. 23, there's a twist to the family dynamic: his son Peter (Joshua Jackson) "comes back as a stranger to us — he knows us but we don't know him so he has to win us back." While Noble imagines that his character Dr. Walter Bishop "would be a very annoying man to spend too much time with," he'd love to have his brain. "What I like about him is he does things that other people wouldn't do because they have boundaries. He doesn't. I'm a bit like that, but only at home."
"Glee" star Chris Colfer said he reduces his carbon footprint by not driving much. "I stay home a lot so I'm not using energy or fuel. I feel like I'm counteracting." On the show's third season, which premieres Sept. 20, his character Kurt is "applying to colleges with Rachel [Lea Michele] and is getting involved in some extra-curricular activities that he has not been a part of yet. He's going the performance route. He really wants to perform." He hopes that Gwyneth Paltrow, who just won an Emmy for her guest role, will return, and has been "campaigning since season one" for Julie Andrews to play his grandmother.
Nominated for a second Emmy this year, the 2010 Best Supporting Actor winner finds it "even more exciting" the second time. "It's a continuation, an honor continued," said Colfer, who wrote, produced and stars in "Struck By Lighting," with Allison Janney and Christina Hendricks as his mother and stepmother. He plays a high school senior "who's very sarcastic and a little too smart for his own good who is killed by a bolt of lightning" and narrates the story "from the other side." It'll be out next year.
Colfer's co-star Harry Shum Jr. keeps his fuel consumption down by getting around L.A. on a scooter that gets 70 miles to the gallon. "I fill up for like $8. It'll take me three weeks to a month to use. It's fun and it's green," said Shum, who's excited to see his character Mike go from glorified extra to a full-fledged character with a life outside of school — we'll meet his parents this season. Dot-Marie Jones, using a cane to support a broken foot, revealed that her character, Coach Beiste, will join Emma (Jayma Mays) and Artie (Kevin McHale) as co-directors of this year's school musical. Nominated for an Emmy this year, she's "pretty damn proud" to be singled out. "This is my 20th year in the business and it's really amazing," said Jones, who recycles at home and totes reusable bags to the grocery store.
"We recycle and we don't use harmful cleaning products in our home. We use non-toxic products," said music biz exec L.A. Reid, who'll join Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Nicole Scherzinger as a judge and mentor to the contestants when "The X Factor" premieres Sept. 21. "It's an amazing platform to discover talent," he summed up the show, which Cowell imported from the U.K.
Charlyne Yi's eco-efforts include toting her own refillable water bottle and packaging the album she recently recorded in biodegradable packaging. She canceled plans to go to Sri Lanka when she got the offer to join the cast of "House" this season as Dr. Chi Park, introduced in the second episode (the season premiere is Oct. 3). "I think she brings some cool vibes. She's kind of like a rebel. She's very intelligent and complicated emotionally," said the "Paper Heart" star, whose next film is Judd Apatow's "This is Forty," in which she reprises her role from "Knocked Up," this time "less affected by drugs and more together."
Hannah Simone believes that taking little, no-cost "baby steps" like not idling your car, turning lights off when you leave home and powering down your computer at night is the best way to go green, especially when an overload of information about climate change can be so overwhelming. She's pleased that on the set of her show "New Girl" everyone refills their own water bottles and uses recycling bins. "Coming from Canada, I'm so used to that," says the former MuchMusic host, who finds that the think-on-your-feet improvising necessary in that job prepared her well for comedy. She's playing Zooey Deschanel's BFF, a model, in the series, but loves more than the character's fabulous wardrobe. "She's the ultimate best friend. She's not stealing a man or cat fighting. She's there for her girl. I have friends like that and I hope that I am a friend like that," she said. "I think that's what we all aspire to be." "New Girl" premieres Sept. 20.
Photos: Frank Micelotta/Fox (L.A. Reid and Paula Abdul, Charlyne Yi) and Gregg DeGuire/Fox (John Noble, Dot-Marie Jones, Harry Shum Jr., Hannah Simone)