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BC Beat

3/07/2008 07:00:00 PM Eastern

With John Eggerton, Alex Weprin and Michael Malone

For more BC Beat, Go to www.bcbeat.com

Stars Pledge Love to PBS in New CPB Spots

Is public broadcasting still necessary? On that subject, there are apparently no degrees of separation among the unlikely trio of Kevin Bacon, Barbara Bush and Jimmy Carter.

They are among the luminaries who will offer video valentines to PBS adn NPR for a new campaign from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which doles out federal money to noncom broadcasters.

The campaign, which CPB is encouraging stations to join by collecting and sharing their own testimonials, comes on the heels, though it was in the planning stages long before, the administration proposed a 50% cut to CPB's budget and a provocative New York Times story that questioned the necessity of publicly funded arts and news programming in a diverse multichannel universe.

Bearing the tagline "My Source," the spots feature the likes of developer Steve Wynn and PBS mainstay Ken Burns explaining why PBS or National Public Radio is their source for inspiration or education or entertainment or whatever.

Bacon, for example, is a big fan of Charlie Rose, and talks about knowing he had really made it as an actor when Rose interviewed him on his show.

The videos will be shown this week at an annual CPB leadership conference, where more will be taped. In addition to airing on member stations during pledge week and breaks in primetime, the spots will be aggregated online for uploading and sharing on Mysourcefor.org, which launches in beta this week.

Footprints

Next month, National Geographic Channel will explore the environmental impact of human consumption in its new documentary Human Footprint. But NatGeo might want to consider the impact of the way TV networks publicize their "green" programs.

The latest entry in an unrelenting eco-friendly programming trend, Footprint aims to illustrate the amount an average American consumes in a lifetime by showing, say, a truckload of 20,000 potatoes.

And to spread the word, NatGeo sent out rather large boxes, each containing a veritable novel of a press release —some 26 pages, albeit on recycled paper—which includes vital stats about consumption. (The thought of eating 5,446 hot dogs and 12,888 oranges in a lifetime made us hungry.)

NatGeo is hardly alone in paradoxically publicizing Earth-friendly programs via Earth-trashing means. Last year, DIY Network sent out a very large box containing nothing more than a short press release, a DVD, a tape measure and a whole lotta packaging material.

At presstime, NatGeo had not yet responded to a request for comment. But perhaps the network should've recycled the approach of its News Corp. cousin Fox, which now ships all press materials in minimal packaging made of recycled cardboard.

Three words for both: electronic press kit.

Indy Film

Indianapolis station WISH is tapping the viral video craze with a primetime special this Saturday on sister station WNDY offering the best user-generated videos from its new site IndyTube.TV.

The Best of IndyTube.TV will draw from the few hundred videos the station received since launching the site six weeks ago.

"Anybody can post videos on a Website," says President/General Manager Jeff White, "but what [most] people can't do is have their videos on broadcast TV for everyone to see."

IndyTube.TV tallies around 2,000 page views a day for clips showing a boy who puts the most seasoned jugglers to shame and lots of pets doing adorable things. Our favorite shows a young man demonstrating great feats in "beer pong," which our sources tell us is some sort of collegiate sport involving ping pong balls and cups presumably filled with an adult beverage.

The guy sinks the ball from way across the room, then ups the degree of difficulty by bouncing the ball off four tilted bar stools into the cup. For his coup de grace, he bounces the ball off a stool, then the wall, then another stool, and, yes, into the cup—all the while wearing the look of a perpetually bored slacker. Think: Minnesota Fats for the Gen Y set.

While the clip came in too late for the special, White was duly impressed by the lad's virtuoso skills: "I wouldn't want to face him in college."

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