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Media: NBC’s Green Gag

Candles.

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That’s what lit NBC studios during the pre-game, halftime and post-game segments of Football Night in America on Sunday. The gimmick, as I’ll call it, marked the kickoff of NBC’s “Green Week,” aimed at “entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives,” according to the network’s Website.

“We’re opening ourselves up for ridicule and sarcasm,” Michael Weisman, the show’s producer, told USA Today last week. “It might be perceived as a stunt.”

Yes, indeed — it might be perceived as a stunt, because that’s exactly what it was. No other way to look at it. NBC execs would have me believe it was something more than that if they ditched the studio lights for, say, an entire season. Or if they talked about ways in which the company was weaving energy-conserving practices into the everyday workplace. Or if viewers weren’t staring at a giant electricity-sucking Toyota ad behind the commentators. The list can go on and on. Instead of making a statement, they made a mockery of the issue.

I’m sure there are some out there who will say it’s better to do something, than nothing. But is still better than nothing, when the something comes across as a joke?

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