USA Network Announces 2nd Annual Characters Unite Awards to Recognize Community Heroes Fighting Prejudice and Discrimination Network Partners with Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable to Solicit Nominations and Honor Recipients with $5,000 Grants

Nomination Period Opens Monday, September 13th with PSA Featuring Royal Pains Star Reshma Shetty

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- USA Network announced today the launch of the 2nd Annual Characters Unite Awards; part of its Characters Unite community affairs campaign to address social injustices and bridge cultural divides.

The awards were created to recognize extraordinary individuals who have made a significant and lasting difference in efforts to fight prejudice and discrimination, while increasing tolerance and acceptance. This year, eight winners will each receive a grant of $5,000 from USA Network and its MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor) partners to donate to his/her project or related nonprofit organization.  The honorees also will be featured in an on-air vignette and online.

The MVPD partners in the Characters Unite Awards include: Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast, Cox Communications, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable

 "Characters Unite is all about finding common ground in our increasingly diverse society," said Bonnie Hammer, president, NBC Universal Cable Entertainment and Universal Cable Productions. "Our awards program celebrates the people who roll up their sleeves and build bridges across the issues that divide us."  

"We're proud to join our distribution partners in showcasing the resilience of those who combat injustice and intolerance across the country," said Bridget Baker, President, NBC Universal TV Networks Distribution. "Honoring these individuals continues to resonate with our distributors, who support a celebration of such 'characters'."

The nomination period for the CHARACTERS UNITE AWARDS begins on Monday, September 13th and runs through Friday, October 8th.  Throughout this month, USA Network and its MVPD partners will air a special PSA featuring Reshma Shetty, star of the USA network hit series ROYAL PAINS, that encourages viewers to go to charactersunite.com to nominate themselves or someone they know who is, for example, tackling teen bullying, advocating against hate crimes, promoting diversity, championing equal rights, or donating time or resources to give all people opportunities.

Entries, including a maximum 500-word essay on how the nominee meets the criteria of character, impact and influence, can be submitted at charactersunite.com.  Complete rules and regulations also will be posted on the website beginning on September 13th.  The winners will be announced in mid-November, during USA's Characters Unite Month. 

The 2009 recipient of the Characters Unite Award was Brian Jeffrey, an English teacher from Rancho Cucamonga, CA, who co-founded Socially Together and Naturally Diverse (STAND), clubs where students can confront stereotypes and celebrate their diversity. 

The Characters Unite initiative also has included PSA campaigns, a National Town Hall moderated by Tom Brokaw, the acclaimed documentary "American Character Along Highway 50," a pledge drive for unity at charactersunite.com and partnerships with 20 nonprofit partners championing civil and human rights. USA will use all its resources to promote Characters Unite during the November/December holiday season and unveil extensive new programming, promotions and digital content. 

The Characters Unite twenty non-governmental partners include American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, American Association of People with Disabilities, American Federation of Teachers, Anti-Defamation League, Asian American Justice Center, , Children's Defense Fund, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association,  General Board of Church & Society of The United Methodist Church, GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights First, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People,  National Association of Counties, National Council of La Raza, National Education Association, National Council of Women's Organizations, National Congress of American Indians, National Parent Teacher 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.  

SOURCE USA Network



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