USA NETWORK AND TOM BROKAW TO CO-HOST FIRST-EVER CHARACTERS UNITE NATIONAL TOWN HALL ON HEALING AMERICA’S DIVISIONS
Brokaw to Moderate Panel of Prominent National Leaders from Government, Academia, Business, Media, the Arts and Non-Governmental Organizations
Jon Bon Jovi, DC Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, Syndicated Columnist Kathleen Parker, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Rep. Xavier Becerra, and Senator Max Cleland Among Those Participating
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – November 10, 2009 – USA Network and Tom Brokaw announced today the first-ever Characters Unite National Town Hall, a ground-breaking high-level discussion on how America’s increasingly diverse and divided population can find common ground on today’s complex social issues. Inspired by USA Network’s community affairs campaign – Characters Unite -- this event will bring together a diverse panel of distinguished leaders to generate fresh ideas for actions by individuals, communities and government to overcome social injustices and bridge cultural divides. Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent, will moderate the panel at the Newseum in Washington, DC, on December 2.
Confirmed Town Hall participants include:
• Mike Allen, Chief White House Correspondent, Politico
• The Honorable Xavier Becerra, Representative, California
• The Honorable Cory Booker, Mayor, Newark, NJ
• The Honorable Max Cleland, Secretary, American Battle Monuments Commission
• Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Professor of Sociology, Georgetown University
• Wade Henderson, President and CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights
• Jon Bon Jovi, Singer, Songwriter, Philanthropist
• David Mixner, Writer and Civil Rights Activist
• Kathleen Parker, Syndicated Columnist
• Chancellor Michelle Rhee, DC Public Schools
• Dr. Christine Sierra, Professor of Political Science, University of New Mexico
Actor Dulé Hill, co-star of USA Network’s “Psych” will also be a special guest in attendance.
"It's time to get past the labeling. We're all different, and we all bring something unique to the table," said Bonnie Hammer, president, NBCU Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. "We need our differences to unite us, not drive us apart."
"People across the country are making tough decisions every day and working to maintain their own unique American character. Too often, instead of coming together to address conflicts, groups demonize each other because of their different beliefs and opinions," said Tom Brokaw, NBC News Special Correspondent.
During the Characters Unite Town Hall, Brokaw will preview his new documentary, American Character Along Highway 50, produced by Peacock Productions, set to premiere on USA Network on Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2010. The film follows Brokaw’s journey at a pivotal point in our country’s history as he travels across legendary US Highway 50 discovering how Americans are fairing during these extraordinary times, immersing himself in the lives of ordinary and extraordinary people to reveal uniquely American stories of hardship, survival and hope.
“Tom Brokaw’s upcoming documentary makes him the ideal moderator for this conversation,” said Hammer. “We’re confident that he will steer the Town Hall toward fresh ideas for individual and collective actions aimed at bringing all of us, with the combined strength of our diversity, together.”
In conjunction with the Town Hall, USA Network will announce the results of a new Characters Unite national opinion poll, the United or Divided Survey, which will provide an in-depth profile of American attitudes on prejudice, discrimination and intolerance. The nationally representative poll is being conducted by two of America's leading public opinion research firms representing both sides of the political aisle -- Hart Research Associates (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R). The survey will examine how Americans view the social trends that are transforming the nation, and will look across generations, race, ethnicity and gender at how change is affecting our country’s social fabric.
In partnership with Charter and Comcast, high schools across the country will have the opportunity to submit questions for the panel and five students will win a trip to Washington, DC, to attend the Town Hall event.
Cisco Webex Solutions will serve as the technology partner for the Characters Unite National Town Hall. The event will be webcast live for free, and viewers may register in advance at www.passtheball.com.
Following the Town Hall, the first Characters Unite Award will be presented to an individual who has made a significant and lasting difference in efforts to fight discrimination, champion civil rights and promote respect. The honoree will be profiled on charactersunite.com and receive a $10,000 grant to support his/her project or nonprofit organization. Nominations for the award are being made by the Characters Unite campaign’s 20 non-governmental partners, which include the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Association of People with Disabilities, the National Parent Teacher Association, the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Council of La Raza, GLAAD, National Council of Women’s Organizations, American Federation of Teachers, Anti-Defamation League, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Asian American Justice Center, Children’s Defense Fund, General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Association of Counties, National Congress of American Indians, National Education Association and Southern Poverty Law Center.
ABOUT USA NETWORK
USA Network is the #1 network in all of basic cable and is seen in over 98.5 million U.S. homes. A division of NBC Universal, USA is the cable television leader in original series and home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, acquired television series and entertainment events. The award-winning USA website is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.
USA Network is a program service of NBC Universal Cable a division of NBC Universal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience.
ABOUT CHARACTERS UNITE
Characters Unite, USA Network’s new community affairs program, was created in January 2009 to address the social injustices and cultural divides still prevalent in our society. Created on the simple premise that life is richer when people see beyond stereotypes and appreciate individual differences, Characters Unite kicked off with a national on-air public service campaign and a multimedia pledge drive for unity and understanding.
Inspired by USA Network’s iconic “Characters Welcome” brand and with the support of leading national not-for-profit organizations, the ongoing, multimedia campaign is dedicated to supporting activities and messaging that combat prejudice and intolerance while promoting understanding and acceptance – on-air, online, and in communities across the country.
ABOUT “AMERICAN CHARACTER ALONG HIGHWAY 50”
Premieres January 2010
USA Network and legendary journalist Tom Brokaw have set out to capture the changing face of a nation in the documentary “American Character Along Highway 50.” As he traverses the 12 states along this 3000 mile transcontinental road, beginning on the eastern shore of Maryland and making his way west to California, Brokaw is documenting the lives of the Americans he encounters, exploring the profound economic, political and cultural changes they are experiencing during these uncertain, and particularly historic, times. As Brokaw journeys from big cities to small towns across the country, he will present stories of hardship and hope and chronicle an America on the threshold of a new era. “American Character Along Highway 50” is produced by Peacock Productions.