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The NBC comedy Cheers afforded Ted Danson job security for 11 years. In providing for his Hollywood lifestyle, it also led Danson to do some work for the greater good. Danson explained how he would use Cheers to raise awareness for environmental causes.
Danson was a guest on the WTF with Marc Maron podcast on March 11, 2018 discussing season 2 of The Good Place. At the end of the interview, Danson discussed his work outside of show business, which he’s done ever since he was on Cheers.
Once Cheers proved to be a success after the first season, the cast could count on setting up camp in the Los Angeles area. Danson chose a coastal area, but soon became aware of an environmental battle.
“During the Cheers years, I moved into a neighborhood,” Danson said on WTF. “It was fighting Occidental Petroleum from drilling 60 oil wells in Santa Monica Bay. And I became friends and co-worker with the environmental lawyer who was heading that.”
A 1988 vote defeated Occidental Petroleum Corp.
“We succeeded in defeating them which was astounding and we enjoyed the conversation that we had with each other and about oceans,” Danson said. “Kind of naively, we went let’s start an organization. We started American Oceans Campaign. And it was about offshore oil, coastal pollution. We had lobbyists in Washington working with us and really good staff of about 12 people.”
Continuing his environmental work, Danson asked Cheers fans to listen to his scientist partners.
Grab your barstool and raise your glass, because starting July 15, you can stream #Cheers for free on @PeacockTV. pic.twitter.com/ATkZqDEV6D
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“That lasted for 15 years and I was always the actor who said, ‘Thank you for watching Cheers. Can I have a moment of your time? You should hear what this marine biologist is saying,’” Danson said. “So I’m not an expert but I was a spokesperson and have kind of learned a lot by hanging around these amazing people. Then it merged into a new organization that was founded called Oceana that was truly international. We never got quite past celebrity boutique environmental organization. Oceana is now the largest in the world.”
Danson remains involved with Oceana. He gave listeners a short preview of the organization’s work.
Its focus is mostly on overfishing because if you do it right and harvest fish correctly, and we know what to do to do that, you could provide a billion fish meals a day if you could quantify fish meals that way. That would take stress off of land animals, off of water, off of cutting down forests because you don’t have to cut something down to grow something to feed something. You get protein in the most clean way you could possibly get it. That’s what we do and we do it all over the world. We have great results. We’re bumping into kind of a bad time here in this country but it’s so much fun for me to use that other side of my brain. When I’m not acting I’m doing this.
Or, to put it succinctly: “Eat wild, local and small,” Danson said. “That’s the rule of thumb.”
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