January 10, 1990
LOS ANGELES – Some of the biggest names in show business are scheduled to perform on a television program aimed at raising publicÂ awareness of environmental problems and stimulating citizen activism in solving them.
At a news conference Monday, Kevin Costner, Meryl Streep, Michael Keaton, Barbra Streisand, Bruce Wfllis, Robin Williams, Quincy Jones, Bette Midler and Ted Danson were named as participants in “The Earth Day Special,” a two-hour broadcast scheduled to air Sunday, April 22. on the ABC television network.
Names of additional participants are expected to be announced in coming weeks.
Although they are among the highest-paid people in their fields, the artists and performers all have agreed to work for minimum unionscale wages, according to the show’s producers.
The telecast is timed to coincide with environmentally oriented events taking place around the world on April 22, which marks the 20thÂ anniversary of Earth Day 1970.
The show’s big-name performers wfll be using their talents “to inspire and educate people to become part of the solution,” said Danson, star of the NBC comedy “Cheers” and the recent movie “Dad.”
The special will use drama, comedy and music to weave a narrative story incorporating information about environmental issues, accordingÂ to Armyan Bernstein, one of the show’s executive producers.
The first hour will focus on problems and the second hour on solutions, he said. At several points in the program, viewers will be offered names, addresses and telephone numbers of organizations that can supply additional information about specific issues.
Danson said that the informational content of the program would be supervised by what he called “a broad-based board of scientificÂ advisers,” the members of which are still being enlisted.
Richard Baskin, music producer and composer who also is one of the show’s executive producers, said representatives of several advocacyÂ groups – including the Environmental Defense ‘Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council –have agreed to serve on the board, as has a representative of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Another executive producer, Paul Witt, said organizers of the television project recognized that environmental issues often are complicated by political and economic concerns.
Witt’s company produces such programs as “The Golden Girls” and “Beauty and the Beast.”
The television show wfll acknowledge those complexities, he said, but intends to “present information that empowers people without paralyzing them.”
The program is being produced by People of the Earth Foundation and Warner Brothers Inc., with financing and sponsorship by Time WarnerÂ Inc. The foundation is an entity specifically set up as a sort of financial holding company for the production of the show. Neither ABC News nor any other news organization is involved in the project.