USA To Launch ‘USA Unite Awards’

USA Network today will launch its renamed USA Unites Awards honoring individuals who are improving lives within their communities.

The network, along with its distributors, will award $5,000 grants to 10 individuals who will be recognized on-air, online and at hometown ceremonies for their unique and innovative community-based projects, said network officials.

For the first time, the program will include a new youth category that will recognize the inspirational young people around the country who are already creating positive change.

The nomination period for the 2015 USA Unites Awards – formerly the Characters Unite Awards -- begins February 23 and runs through April 17. The program kicks off with an on-air spot featuring Suits star Patrick J. Adams calling for nominations.

“Building on the great success of the Characters Unite Awards, we’re now expanding the scope of the program to honor unsung heroes making a difference on a wider array of critical causes, including promoting equality, fighting injustice and creating opportunities for those in need,” Toby Graff, senior vice president of public affairs for USA Network, said in a release. “The USA Unites Awards give amazing individuals – including our country’s next generation of leaders – a chance to get the recognition they deserve and a grant to increase their impact.”

Since the launch of the Characters Unite Awards in 2009, more than 50 awards and $200,000 in grants have been given by the network and its distribution partners: Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast Corporation, Cox Communications, Mediacom, Time Warner Cable, and Suddenlink.

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.