USA Network Sets 'Characters Unite Month' Plans

USA Network will step up its "Characters Unite" anti-discrimination initative with a month-long lineup of special programming, digital content and community events, the network announced Thursday.

The "Characters Welcome" network will team with distributors Bright House Networks, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast Cable, Cox, Mediacom, Suddenlink and Time Warner Cable to select this year’s Characters Unite Awards winners, said network officials. The awards are annually given to everyday people who championing civil and human rights in their communities.

USA and distributors will also partner on the Characters Unite National Bus Tour, which will make stops at University of Virginia, North Carolina State University, University of Georgia, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University, Arizona State University and University of Colorado.

On the programming front, USA will launch its "Characters Unite Month" with the Jan. 31 premiere of its third annual NFL Characters Unite documentary which features NFL stars Victor Cruz, Ray Rice, Randall Cobb, Nick Mangold, Mark Herzlich, Charles Tillman and J.J. Watt sharing personal stories of overcoming bullying and discrimination, said network officials.

The network will also unveil a new PSA campaign that will run throughout the month. The “I Won’t Stand For…” PSA Campaign promoting greater tolerance featuring Grammy-winning duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis singing their Grammy-nominated song of the year “Same Love,” as well as appearances from other celebrities and politicians.

USA will commemorate Black History Month with the Feb. 15 airing of the classic 1967 Academy Award-winning movie In The Heat Of The Night with limited commercial interruptions, said the network.

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.