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By Harriet L. Blake

In case you’ve missed it, it was Green Week all week (Nov. 4-10) at NBC Universal. The theme was “aimed at entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives,” according to the company’s website.

In keeping with this effort, the Today show has sent three of its anchors to the “ends of the earth” – with Matt Lauer reporting from the Arctic Circle, Ann Curry from Antarctica and Al Roker at the equator. On Sunday Night Football, sports commentator Bob Costas spent the last portion of the game literally in the dark with just candlelight – allegedly to save electricity. (As one cynic pointed out, that savings was minimal compared to the stadium lights used during the Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles game. And, keep in mind, that NBC’s parent company is General Electric.)

Besides NBC TV, all of the company’s properties are involved: CNBC, MSNBC, NBC News, NBS Sports, SciFi Channel, Sundance Channel, Bravo, USA Network, Telemondo as well as Universal Studios and its theme parks.

The 150 hours of green TV programming includes the soap opera Days of Our Lives, which features a “green wedding; The Office, which has Steve Carell on a survival adventure after being excluded from a corporate wilderness retreat; in 30 Rock, Alec Baldwin hatches an idea for a green mascot for NBC with special guest star Al Gore; and in Scrubs, the janitor becomes the “environmental officer” after watching An Inconvenient Truth.

Creative stuff, but, as some critics have pointed out, is this just a stunt for television’s November sweeps? Joel Makower of Greenbiz.com reports that NBC appears to be serious about its green initiative. In his recent interview with Lauren Zalanick, president of Bravo Media, Makower says the company, according to Zalanick, wants to be the green media market leader. Zalanick is in charge of NBC Universal’s Green Council.

“We want college grads coming into the marketplace – 80 percent of whom say they want a job with positive environmental impact – we want them here,” she says.

As Makower notes, some will criticize NBC for being too commercial or not green enough. But he adds, “Green Week is a substantive and welcome contribution from the mainstream media.”