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Photograph by Aaron Huey
The Click ‘N’ Save Duo
Nat Geo filmmakers plot to open viewers’ minds—and wallet

Despite a do-good vibe and a lack of focus on designer shoes and dating, last year’s debut season of Sol Guy and Josh Thome’s reality series 4REAL was a surprise hit for the National Geographic Channel. Broadcast in 166 countries (and on the CW network in the U.S.), the program connected celebrities like Mos Def, Cameron Diaz, and Eva Mendes with young leaders in developing nations. With season two in the works, you’d think the duo would be cashing in. And they are, sort of. The newly upgraded site “lets visitors flow marketing dollars to all the causes we introduced them to on the show, Thome says. “They can help ignite grassroots change just by clicking the links.” 4REAL subjects have included a Brazilian rapper whose hits empower local favela youth, and a survivor of Liberia’s civil war who now runs orphanages for former child soldiers. Guy and Thome aren’t exactly straight from The Hills, either. They grew up together in remotest British Columbia without electricity. Guy went on to become one of hip hop’s biggest producers (Lauryn Hill, OutKast, The Roots), while Thome received the Sierra Club President’s award for his environmental work. And now? “We finally found the right platform to really help the causes we care about,” Thome says. —Andrea Minarcek

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