Green issues take root on TV worldwide

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From thrillers to documentaries, reality shows and formats for kids, shows on the environment are this year's hot favourites with television programme-makers.

   CANNES, France, April 7, 2008 - From thrillers to documentaries, reality shows and formats for kids, shows on the environment are this year's hot favourites with television programme-makers worldwide and appear set to dominate prime-time viewing.
   Bowing to the demand for programmes on the environment, the influential
MIPTV trade show gathering more than 13,000 executives from the TV, Internet,
telecoms, advertising and video game industries kicked off Monday with an
opening "Green Day."
   "Green (TV) is absolutely red hot," Paul Johnson, director of the TV
division of the show's organisers Reed MIDEM, told AFP.
   Japan's national broadcaster, NHK, is to receive a Green World Award from
the organisers for raising awareness in the last five decades, while leading
campaigners get together with industry players to brainstorm about the role of
the media in the fight against global warming.
   Environmentally-flavoured programmes are on the rise on primetime spots on
the big public broadcasters and satellite channels, as well as on an exploding
number of Internet platforms.
   America's cable TV Sundance Channel, which is at the forefront of the green
TV wave, is launching its second season of "The Green" -- weekly primetime
eco-conscious programmes hosted by Hollywood icon Robert Redford.
   The channel's other ecologically minded shows include the highly successful
"Big Ideas for A Small Planet" and "Ecobiz," featuring forward-thinking
entrepreneurs with tips on how to make the world more environmentally friendly.
   Viewers worldwide will soon be able to tune into Sundance's pioneering
programmes as "Big Ideas" is to be distributed to 13 territories, from North
and South America across the Middle East and Asia Pacific, including
Australia, Sundance's Laura Michalchyshyn told AFP.
   But media giants are also capitalising on public interest in the planet's
health and starting to use some of the newest TV platforms, such as the
   News Corp has launched a new TV channel on its MySpace site, the world's
largest social networking site. MySpaceTV lets users view National Geographic
as well as video clips about global warming and recycling submitted by users
around the world.
   Meanwhile the green wave is breaking away from the more traditional
documentary format and spilling over into popular TV genres, including drama,
reality and kids shows.
   Environmentalist and adventurer David de Rothschild, who wrote the "Global
Warming Survival Guide," recently teamed up with hugely popular kids cable
channel Nickelodeon in Britain, on a week-long multi-media project called
"Nick's Big Green Thing."
   And the stars of a new two-part BBC drama "Alchemy" have jetted into Cannes
to promote their global warming conspiracy thriller in which the oil industry,
environmental activists and politicians collide in a battle that pits economic
success against ecological responsibility.
   At the two-day MIPDOC show centered on documentaries this weekend that
precedes the main MIPTV event, environmentally-skewed documentaries accounted
for 10 percent of the hundreds of shows up for grabs.
   The green theme, as Sundance's Michalchyshyn put it, "is not a choice any
more, people want solutions."


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