TCA '09: Sundance Channel Books 'Eco Trip'

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Complete MCN TCA coverage

Los Angeles—Sundance Channel will bolster its "green" programming block with new series and documentaries debuting this spring, including a show tracking popular products such as a cotton T-shirt from raw components to its finished product.

That eight-part series, Eco Trip, hosted by Adventure Ecology founder David de Rothschild, will trace the environmental, social and health impacts related to the creation of items including salmon, cell phones and chocolate. The show launches April 21.

Another “eco warrior,” Josh Dorfman, will host The Lazy Environmentalist where he will seek out skeptics of the green movement to demonstrate simple ways to be more environmentally conscious—including brothers in a fraternity house.

Dorfman noted the fact that writers at the TCA session here were drinking tap water in glasses and complemented them for not quaffing from plastic bottles. His show begins June 16.

Sundance will also debut an award-winning documentary from Irena Salina, Flow, focusing on the world water crisis. The documentary will premiere April 21.

Part of the panel discussion focused on the environmental impact of the upcoming digital TV transition, and the fate of millions of obsolete big-box televisions headed for landfills.

de Rothschild stated that many so-called recycling programs don't recycle at all but send e-waste to Third World countries, especially China, increasing the environmental damage there. "You need to ask questions like 'Where is my cell phone going?'" Executive producer Colleen Halpin said the show's Web site will suggest recycling businesses that actually recycle outdated electronics.

The environmentalists also said the industry needs to pursue a new, closed-loop design, so the next generation electronics will be totally recyclable.

Returning series will include Big Ideas for a Small Planet and Green Porno featuring Isabella Rossellini expounding on the sex lives of animals.

Fashion will also be a part of the pop culture mix on Sundance, with the U.S. television premiere of Rodolphe Marconi's documentary Lagerfeld Confidential, part of seven nights of style-oriented films, airing Feb. 9 to 15 in advance of New York Fashion Week.

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