NBC goes to ends of earth to get green


NEW YORK -- NBC Universal's green initiative will kick off in early November with simultaneous live broadcasts from the North and South poles and the equator on "Today."

NBC said the Nov. 5 broadcasts will be the first time anyone has ever broadcast from all three points at the same time, but it's not the main reason to do it. It's the vanguard of a companywide "Green Is Universal" initiative to make NBC and its operating units much more environmentally friendly.

NBC is poised to announce next week a wider sweeping environmental initiative that Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick, who chairs the NBCU Green Council, says will include every part of the company. It could include programs other than "Today."

"This is the first step in what we view as an ongoing multiyear task," Zalaznick said, adding that CEO Jeff Zucker has mandated that the company improve its environmental impact.

That will include a globe-trotting effort by the "Today" crew, with Matt Lauer going to the Arctic Circle in Greenland, Ann Curry traveling to Antarctica and Al Roker visiting equatorial Mindo, Equador. All will do reports on the Nov. 5 and 6 installments of "Today" as part of the show's extensive reporting on the condition of the planet and climate change. It'll take at least three days each for the anchors and their crew to arrive and set up.

"It's a huge undertaking," said "Today" executive producer Jim Bell. Meredith Vieira will anchor what they're calling the "Ends of the Earth" series from New York. Bell said that the technology has yet to be tried and will require "a little guesswork, a little prayer." It isn't clear whether NBC's effort will be so-called carbon neutral.

Lauer, who is famous for his "Where in the World Is Matt Lauer?" segments every May, said it will be the first time he's ever been to the Arctic Circle, though he's flown over Greenland a couple of times.

"When we do 'Where in the World,' it's all about the journey," Lauer said. "Here it's about the content, about the message. ... 'Where in the World' is different, it's an adventure. This is very serious."

Added Bell: "This is a more serious look at the condition of our planet."