THIS FEBRUARY USA NETWORK LAUNCHES ITS MOST EXPANSIVE CHARACTERS UNITE MONTH EVER AS PART OF ITS ONGOING EFFORT TO COMBAT HATE AND DISCRIMINATION
Network to Unveil Powerful New PSA Campaign, Headlined By Grammy-Winning Artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Special Programming Includes NFL Characters Unite Documentary and Characters Unite Film In The Heat of the Night
Campaign Expands to College Campuses Across the Country with National Bus Tour
NEW YORK – January 30, 2014 – USA Network is set to launch its most expansive Characters Unite Month ever this February, with special on-air programming, digital content and community events featuring a wide array of high-profile musicians, actors, athletes and political leaders who have joined in support of the award-winning public service campaign to combat hate and discrimination.
Kicking off the month, USA will premiere the third annual NFL Characters Unite documentary on overcoming bullying and unveil an inspiring, new PSA campaign to promote greater tolerance and acceptance that features Grammy-winning hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and their Grammy-nominated song of the year "Same Love," as well as other notable actors, athletes, musicians and political leaders. As part of the ongoing Characters Unite Film Series, the network will air a special, limited commercial presentation of the Oscar-winning Best Picture "In the Heat of the Night" to commemorate Black History Month. Throughout the month, USA and its Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPD) partners will begin the search for the 2014 Characters Unite Awards winners, unsung heroes who are championing civil and human rights in their communities. In addition, USA is expanding the initiative to reach college students with a bus tour of university campuses across the country.
"Our nation has made great progress in the past 50 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed. However, hate, bullying and discrimination remain too prevalent in our society," said Toby Graff, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, USA Network. "This Characters Unite Month, and throughout the entire year, we are honored to use the power of media, across multiple platforms, to continue to shine a brighter spotlight on injustice and inequality and to inspire more people to become a force for positive change. We're especially grateful to all of the amazing talent who has joined the Characters Unite movement."
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis said of their involvement, "We intended 'Same Love' to help spread a message of love, tolerance and acceptance and we are proud to align ourselves with the Characters Unite movement which shares the same goal. Through the new Characters Unite PSA, we hope to inspire even more people to take part in such an important cause."
Details of Characters Unite Month key elements include:
"NFL Characters Unite": The third annual documentary features Victor Cruz, Ray Rice, Randall Cobb, Nick Mangold, Mark Herzlich, Charles Tillman and J.J. Watt sharing personal stories of overcoming bullying and discrimination and mentoring a young person currently facing similar challenges. Kicking off Characters Unite Month, the documentary premieres on Friday, January 31st at 7/6c.
"I Won't Stand For…" PSA Campaign: Set to the powerful hit song "Same Love," USA joined forces with Grammy-winning artists Macklemore & Ryan Lewis for a new PSA that sends the message that everyone can help stop hate and all forms of discrimination simply by saying they won't stand for it anymore. The spot also features USA talent including WHITE COLLAR actor Matt Bomer, SUITS' Patrick J. Adams and Gina Torres and ROYAL PAINS actress Reshma Shetty. Click here to download and embed the PSA.
In addition to the "Same Love" anthem PSA, throughout the month, USA will unveil dozens of short vignettes on-air and online with a wide array of celebrities and trailblazers sharing what they won't stand for. New participants include: WWE Superstars Big Show, Alberto Del Rio and Darren Young and WWE Divas the Bella Twins; SIRENS cast members Kevin Bigley and Kevin Daniels; Grammy-winning musician Cyndi Lauper and Grammy-nominated artist Carly Rae Jepsen; Olympic Gold medalist Apolo Ohno; "Lone Survivor" actor Taylor Kitsch and the film's real-life hero Marcus Luttrell; Super Bowl champions Giants' Victor Cruz and Ravens' Ray Rice; and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle.
Characters Unite National College Bus Tour: In partnership with several of USA's MVPD partners, the Characters Unite National Bus Tour will make stops at seven college campuses across this country including: University of Virginia, North Carolina State University, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University, Arizona State University and University of Colorado. At each stop, students can create their own "I Won't Stand For…" t-shirts and photos.
Characters Unite Film Series: Building on the ongoing Characters Unite Film Series to use the power of storytelling to raise awareness of social injustice and inspire change, USA will commemorate Black History Month by presenting "In the Heat of the Night" with limited commercials. The film, which was groundbreaking in its powerful portrayal of racism in America and played a role in advancing the civil rights movement, won five Oscars including Best Picture. Previous Characters Unite films have included "To Kill a Mockingbird," with an introduction by President Obama, and "Schindler's List," with an introduction by Steven Spielberg. "In the Heat of the Night" airs Saturday, February 15 at 9p/8c.
United Against Bullying Commercial Challenge: During February, USA and nonprofit organization R&R Partners Foundation's Flip the Script will reveal the winner of the Unite Against Bullying Commercial Challenge, a competition for middle and high school students to create a television commercial to help stop bullying. The competition, which was launched in October by Grammy-nominated artist Carly Rae Jepsen at the #UniteLIVE Concert to Rock Out Bullying in Las Vegas, elicited hundreds of entries from teens nationwide. The winning concept was produced into a 30-second spot that will premiere during Characters Unite Month on USA, charactersunite.com and flipthescript.org.
Digital Campaign: Throughout the month, Characters Unite will issue weekly challenges for people to take part via social media in the "I Won't Stand For…" movement and get a chance to be featured on USA as a star "Uniter." Fans can engage by using the hashtag #IWontStandFor or the Facebook photo App, which allows people to create and share their "I Won't Stand For…" photos and join the online gallery of Uniters, helping meet USA Network's goal of reaching at least 25 million people with the "I Won't Stand For…" message. New content also will be available at charactersunite.com, including information, resources and ideas on how to get involved in the campaign.
Characters Unite Awards: USA and its MVPD partners will launch the 5th Characters Unite Awards to honor extraordinary individuals who have made significant efforts to champion civil and human rights in their communities. The program kicks off with an on-air spot featuring SUITS star Patrick J. Adams calling for nominations. Winners will be featured on-air and online and will receive a $5,000 grant to continue their work.
Visit www.charactersunite.com for more information and to find out what you can do to make a difference.
Characters Unite Non-Profit Partners
USA's nonprofit partners in the year-round Characters Unite public service campaign include: American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD); American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Children's Defense Fund (CDF), Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA), Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Human Rights First (HRF), Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), National Association of Counties (NACo), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Council of La Raza (NCLR), National Council of Women's Organizations (NCWO), National Education Association (NEA), National Parent Teacher Association (PTA), Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), and General Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Church.