PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON TO DELIVER SPECIAL INTRODUCTION FOR USA NETWORK’S CHARACTERS UNITE AIRING OF ACADEMY AWARD®-WINNING FILM “PHILADELPHIA”
NBCU Cable Entertainment Chairman Bonnie Hammer Builds on High-Profile Characters Unite Film Series to Promote Greater Tolerance and Acceptance
Special Limited Commercial Presentation of “Philadelphia” Premieres Saturday, June 21 at 7/6c in Commemoration of Pride Month and National HIV Testing Day
NEW YORK – June 19, 2014 – NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment Chairman Bonnie Hammer today announced the latest film in the ongoing Characters Unite Film Series to use the power of storytelling to help combat hate and discrimination. USA Network will commemorate Pride Month by presenting “Philadelphia” with limited commercials on Saturday, June 21 at 7/6c.USA’s presentation of “Philadelphia” will feature a special, new introduction by President Bill Clinton.
When “Philadelphia premiered in 1993, itwas one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to acknowledge HIV/AIDS and address homophobia. The film went on to win two Oscars including Best Actor in a Leading Role for Tom Hanks. That same year President Clinton created the White House Office on National AIDS Policy to develop the first federal government response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. After he left office, President Clinton continued to fight the deadly disease and lower the cost of treatment around the globe, primarily in the developing world. Now, through the efforts of Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), more than eight million people in low and middle income countries have access to HIV/AIDS medicines.
“Through the Characters Unite Film Series we are continuing to showcase critically acclaimed films like “Philadelphia,” which shed light on our past and inspire us to carry on the fight against social injustice, intolerance and discrimination,” said Ms. Hammer. “We are honored to have President Clinton introduce this film. Both he and his foundation have demonstrated a longstanding commitment to help turn the tide against HIV/AIDS. We hope this special presentation fosters greater dialogue and progress during Pride Month and beyond.”
Released in 1993, the film follows Andrew Beckett (Tom Hanks), a gay lawyer suffering from AIDS who is fired from his law firm due to his medical condition. In an effort to right this wrong, Beckett hires homophobic lawyer Joe Miller (Denzel Washington), the only willing advocate for a wrongful dismissal suit. Not only was the film one of the first big budget pictures to tackle the issue of AIDS in the U.S., it also signaled a shift in Hollywood toward more realistic depictions of the LGBT community.
“Philadelphia” is the sixth film in the successful Characters Unite Film Series, which launched in April 2012 with “To Kill a Mockingbird,” featuring an introduction by President Barack Obama. Additional films in the series have included: “The Color Purple,” with an introduction by the film’s Oscar-winning star Whoopi Goldberg; “Milk,” with an introduction by Emmy® Award-winner and activist Neil Patrick Harris; “In the Heat of the Night,” introduced by the film’s music composer Quincy Jones; and “Schindler’s List,” featuring an introduction by the film’s director Steven Spielberg, which garnered 3.2 million viewers.
Visit www.charactersunite.com for more information and to find out what you can do to make a difference.
Characters Unite, USA Network’s award-winning public service campaign was created to address the social injustices and cultural divides still prevalent in our society. Inspired by USA Network’s iconic “Characters Welcome” brand and with the support of leading national nonprofit organizations, the ongoing campaign is dedicated to combating prejudice, discrimination and intolerance while promoting understanding and acceptance -- on-air, online and in communities around the country.
The #1 network in all of basic cable for an unprecedented eight straight years, USA Network is seen in more than 102 million U.S. homes. USA offers a powerful stable of dramatic, comedic and unscripted originals. The network also features spectacular live television, a dynamic portfolio of acquired series and the best in blockbuster theatrical films and entertainment events. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. The award-winning website is located at www.usanetwork.com