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Mipcom goes green

Market offers eco-friendly theme day

Forget Al Gore and Arnold Schwarzenegger — Homer Simpson is ready to be the new ambassador for action against climate change.

A green-themed day at Mipcom gave speakers from News Corp., National Geographic and MTV the opportunity to deliver the message that environmental issues must be made entertaining.

“The mainstream is wanting solutions, so for us, it’s all about making green fun and sexy,” said Rachel Weber, News Corp. director of energy initiatives, in a speech that detailed how Rupert Murdoch’s conglom is driving efficiencies in order to become carbon neutral by 2010.

Weber cited “The Simpsons Movie” as a good example of using humor to plug green themes. Alternatively, programs have to be dramatic, resonate with people’s lives and do everything it traditionally takes to make a good story.

“We have to take global issues, narrow them down for a local audience and make them relevant. Programs have to show real people and what they’re dealing with,” said Sydney Suissa, exec VP of content for National Geographic Channels Intl.

He showed an emotional clip from the channel’s new factual show “Six Degrees,” which showed Australian families fighting bush fires caused by hotter climatic conditions.

It’s not difficult to find similar green programming in sellers’ portfolios.

FremantleMedia is carrying Sundance Channel’s “Big Ideas for a Small Planet” and Australia’s eco-reality show “Carbon Cops” on its books. ID Distribution has the U.K.’s “Outrageous Wasters”; All3Media’s “Wasted!,” which aired in New Zealand, has already been adapted for Spain.

“It’s definitely of the moment,” said MTV Networks Intl. veep Georgia Arnold. “I would like to think it’s not a passing fad, because it’s going to take longer to fix the problem.”

Arnold was at Mipcom to tell people about Switch, MTV’s campaign to help young people find solutions to climate change. It was launched earlier this year in response to a study of 5,000 kids in 14 countries; 56% were concerned about the environment.

But if Homer and a slew of factual programming can’t save the day, there may be hope out on the highway.

NBC Universal is hunting for KITT, the car that will star in its updated version of ’80s TV classic “Knight Rider.” Co-chairman Ben Silverman quipped, “Just to be clear, it will get 127 miles to the gallon.”