• Battleground Earth
  • September3rd

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  • August8th


    original article link | Going green is hot, even on reality TV.

    In the past year, shows such as “America’s Next Top Model” and “Project Runway” have incorporated environmental themes.

    But new cable network Planet Green has taken this a step further, developing a show which blends elements of “The Amazing Race” and “celebreality” and focuses on saving the planet.

    The result: “Battleground Earth,” a 10-episode “eco-smackdown” between rock and rap. Motley Crue’s Tommy Lee and Atlanta rapper/actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges competed in 13 challenges this spring, traveling in biodiesel buses to nine cities including Las Vegas, Dallas and Atlanta.

    Each challenge focused on a different environmental issue such as recycling and water pollution. The overall winner headlined a season-ending charity concert in Los Angeles while the loser had to be the opener.

    “It really opened my eyes,” Lee said during a brief break in shooting in May in Atlanta. One thing he hopes to do: “Add solar panels to my house.”

    “I hope what we’re doing will save lives,” Ludacris added. “I want to lead by example. I never really recycled before, but I plan to do it now.”

    Stars pitch in to help out

    Star power is plentiful. Episode one alone features cameos by musician Dr. John, Cedric the Entertainer, Diddy and actor Isaiah Washington. For the upcoming Atlanta episode, set to air at the end of this month, expect appearances by Magic Johnson, Jane Fonda and Big Boi from OutKast.

    During the Atlanta episode, each team raced to see how much junk mail they could collect to recycle. Combined, they brought in four to five truckloads. Ludacris used Ryan Cameron’s show on V-103 to solicit mail. Lee got on CNN using a connection through his teammate Johnny Colt.

    Stylistically, “Battleground Earth” opted for a different look and feel than most reality shows, blending entertainment with dollops of news you can use.

    “We wanted to do something a little bold, a little crazy,” said Leslie Greif, the executive producer, who also produces A&E’s “Gene Simmons: Family Jewels.”

    There’s no host to bridge the scenes and no interviews with participants to explain what they’re doing or thinking at the time of said activity. Instead, producers tried other ways to connect scenes and craft storylines.

    Celebrities and environmental experts pop up to interact with Lee, Ludacris and their entourage and tell them what is coming up or why they are, say, installing solar panels for a church in New Orleans.

    As a result, some scenes feel staged. During the Atlanta shoot at Midtown’s Park Tavern in May, at least seven cameras hovered around Lee and Ludacris as they met Atlanta rock band Collective Soul, headlining an Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper fundraiser.

    The producers asked the two teams to converge, walk up to the stage and gab with the band during a break in soundcheck. They talked about why the band was there and discussed water conservation. The scene took three takes. So did another scene in which Lee “happened to” walk by Ludacris and the two trash-talk each other as a segue to the next episode.

    “By the end, we were getting our acting chops together,” said Colt, an Atlanta real estate developer, bassist for Train and original member of the Black Crowes. Although he was never given a script, he did prep putdowns against the other team.

    Rapper outworks rocker

    Atlanta musician Tony “4-ize” Hayes, a childhood friend and part of Luda’s team, said Ludacris was far more intense than Lee about the competition.

    “Everything was game plan, game plan, game plan,” he said. “We’d huddle and strategize and do research. Tommy was super cool, kind of went with the flow.”

    The toughest challenge? Shoveling manure to make methane. On the other hand, Hayes said he got to “ride horses, joust and rock climb. It was a fulfilling experience.”

    Colt said they taped 16 and 17 hour days for five straight weeks, a basic whirlwind of exhaustion. “Crew members were falling out,” Colt said. “At one point, I said, ‘Are we filming a green reality show or the heart of darkness?’ Touring is a piece of cake compared to this! Tommy and I had developed hand tremors by the end of the shoot.”

    Yet he has no regrets: “The show is totally fun and crazy and bananas, but it also has a message with heart.”


    “Battleground Earth,” Planet Green, 10 p.m. Sunday jogos casino online

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  • August4th

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    He`s So Original - Johnny Colt is an eco challenger.

    he`s so original

    Johnny Colt is an eco challenger.

    Former Black Crowes rocker, songwriter for Train, Atlanta native and unlikely green poster boy, Johnny is now trading his gas guzzling ’89 Ram Charger for a Mercedes diesel. This is the result of spending the summer duking it out on Battleground Earth, an eco-challenge show premiering this month on Planet Green with rock icon Tommy Lee and hip hop star Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. Musicians turned game show participants, they are on two teams who face off, while gaining knowledge about environmental issues like learning how to run their motorcycles and tour bus on cooking grease. In another episode they glean eco lessons from the medieval times. Locally, Johnny owns the E Group, an energy efficient consulting firm that works towards eco-friendly real estate development. “For better or worse, I stopped taking myself so seriously after having a camera in my face,” he says. “I left my dignity around day 10 or 11.”

    What do you like about wearing a skirt?: “A little cross dressing is super sexy. I felt kinda hot. I’ll put a dress on any day.”

    What do you like about reading skirt!: “Nothing is sexier than an empowered female, and that’s what you promote. Really empowered females are hard to find.”

    For more on Johnny and his new show Battleground Earth, click here.

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