CTAM Summit 2010: USA Launches "Characters Unite" Tour

Complete CTAM Summit 2010 coverage

Network will team with cable operators to launch a five-city
"Characters Unite" tour showcasing real-life personal stories of bigotry
and discrimination.

The "Characters Welcome" network - in
conjunction with non-profit storytelling organization The Moth and Cox
Communications - will create the tour, which features five to six
everyday people "storytellers" sharing a true, personal experience of
bigotry or discrimination in front of a live audience. The tour launches
tonight (Oct. 18) here in New Orleans with a "Characters Unite"-themed
"Mainstage" storytelling show, according to Alexandra Shapiro, senior
vice president, Brand Marketing and Digital USA Network. Cox Louisiana SVP and GM Jacqui Vines will participate
as a storyteller in the New Orleans show, which will be hosted by
actress Angela Bassett.

New York, Chicago, Denver and Seattle will also host tours later this year and into 2011, said Shapiro.

the end of the day through the tour we really want people to question
their own filters and behaviors in an effort to create a more tolerant
society," Shapiro said. "We don't in any way think we're going to
eradicate hatred and prejudice, but if we can play a small role in
encouraging people to dialogue about these issues and question right and
wrong, we'll make a small contribution to we hope the betterment of

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R. Thomas Umstead

R. Thomas Umstead serves as senior content producer, programming for Multichannel News, Broadcasting + Cable and Next TV. During his more than 30-year career as a print and online journalist, Umstead has written articles on a variety of subjects ranging from TV technology, marketing and sports production to content distribution and development. He has provided expert commentary on television issues and trends for such TV, print, radio and streaming outlets as Fox News, CNBC, the Today show, USA Today, The New York Times and National Public Radio. Umstead has also filmed, produced and edited more than 100 original video interviews, profiles and news reports featuring key cable television executives as well as entertainers and celebrity personalities.