October 19th, 2009
11:38 AM ET
If you don't like the trend in prime-time programming this week, don't blame your friendly neighborhood "Find The Good" blogger. Of course, if you do like it, I'll take the credit. I'll explain.
Remember when NBC did a "Green Week," throwing environmental messages into a bunch of its prime-time shows? Well, get ready for "iParticipate," the brainchild of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, which bills itself as Hollywood's leading charity organization. As part of the initiative, the EIF has gotten all four major broadcast networks and other channels to "shine a spotlight on the power of service."
Yep, volunteerism storylines will be bustin' out all over this week, as more than 60 shows, from "30 Rock" to "CSI: Miami" to "So You Think You Can Dance," are "infused with inspirational volunteer messages," as the EIF puts it. It's a follow-up to the EIF's very successful Stand Up To Cancer campaign, which has raised more than $100 million.
Now, obviously the goal is laudable, and your local "Find The Good" guy would hardly criticize such a well-meaning effort. But it seems to me the success or failure of the initiative will depend in large part on how well the shows integrate the sermons. For something like "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," it's a natural fit, but scripted comedies and dramas could be tougher. If viewers are irritated instead of impressed or moved, I don't think they're likely to take the volunteerism message to heart.
So what do you think? Is it appropriate to put well-intentioned, non-partisan messages into entertainment programming? Should a show be criticized if it doesn't want to join such an effort? And, most importantly, I'd like to hear this week what you think about how it went. Which shows pulled it off, and which ones flopped?
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