Showtime's new documentary series "Years of Living Dangerously" doesn't premiere for another week (Sunday, April 13 at 10 p.m.), but you can watch the premiere episode right now:
The star-studded series tapped eco-conscious celebrities and journalists — including "The Vampire Diaries" star Ian Somerhalder, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Munn, "House of Lies" star Don Cheadle, America Ferrera, Lesley Stahl of "60 Minutes," and Harrison Ford — to report on people around the world who have been (and continue to be) affected by climate change.
Executive produced by James Cameron, Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub, as well as climate expert Daniel Abbasi and Emmy-winning former "60 Minutes" producers Joel Bach and David Gelber, the series contains nine one-hour episodes.
"It’s a subject that certainly interests me," Weintraub said at the Television Critics Association press tour back in January. "I think it’s one of the most important topics of my lifetime, and I’m 76 years old, so I’ve seen a lot go on. And I said, 'I think everything that’s going on with global warming and climate control is important and the public should see it, but you need eyeballs. You need people to look at it, and they’re not going to do it in a theater. They will do it on television.'"
Abassi talked about the choice to use celebrities as correspondents instead of the scientists themselves: "Obviously, Governor Schwarzenegger has been an extraordinary leader, but Harrison Ford is on the board of Conservation International [and] does a phenomenal story for us on deforestation in Indonesia. So this is a global story. Matt Damon has co-founded a group called Water.org, and you all probably know it, is an incredibly smart individual. David and I talked about the fact that he could be a great correspondent on '60 Minutes' if he had chosen to be a journalist. Don Cheadle is a UN environmental ambassador. So we chose people that already have this passion for the issue, and then we gave them an opportunity to do something that most of them hadn’t done before, which was go into the field as correspondents. But they relate... they relate to people. They’re charismatic."
"Arnold really is politically, in my mind, the single greatest political figure on this issue in this country," Gelber said of Schwarzenegger. "He's been a tremendous hero on the climate issue, and it's an honor to have him as one of our correspondents."
Schwarzenegger had an interesting take as well: "I think the environmental movement only can be successful if we are simple and clear and make it a human story ... Only actors really will get the ultimate attention. The scientists would never get the kind of attention that someone in show business gets. And this is why it's very important when you are an actor and you are in the entertainment business or when you are a professional athlete, that you look at that power that you have, the power of communicating, and use it for something positive."
Tell us: Will you be more likely to tune in because of the celebrity correspondents?
"Years of Living Dangerously" premieres Sunday, April 13 at 10 p.m. on Showtime.