Neil deGrasse Tyson, Host of FOX's 'Cosmos,' Will Receive Top Honor from National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences has announced that Neil deGrasse Tyson, host and executive producer of the hit FOX series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, will receive the 2015 Public Welfare Medal, the Academy's most prestigious honor. The Public Welfare Medal signifies Tyson's "extraordinary role in exciting the public about the wonders of science."
"Through just about every form of media available, Neil deGrasse Tyson has made millions of people around the world excited about science," said Susan Wessler, home secretary for the National Academy of Sciences and chair of the selection committee for the award. "Ultimately, the success of science depends on the public's understanding of its importance and value. Neil masterfully conveys why science matters - not just to a few, but to all of us."
Tyson is perhaps best known as the host of FOX's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, a reboot of Carl Sagan's landmark 1980 PBS series. As the host of Cosmos, Tyson takes viewers on a journey through the history of scientific achievement, making even the field's most complex principles, such as the Big Bang or climate change, accessible for all. Cosmos received the largest international rollout in television history, premiering across multiple 21st Century Fox channels in the US, including FOX, FOX Sports 1, and the National Geographic Channel, as well as through the Fox International Channels in 181 countries across 45 languages.
In April, Nat Geo will debut Star Talk, the first ever late-night talk show focusing on science, based on Tyson's popular podcast series of the same name.
In addition to his various projects at 21st Century Fox, Tyson has served as the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History since 1995. He has also written 10 books and tweets about science frequently to his more than 3 million followers. The Washington Post reports that Tyson is the "first person to receive the award for his efforts in science communication to the general public since Sagan himself won in 1994."
For more information on the award, visit the National Academy of Sciences' website.
At its annual Los Angeles Awards Dinner on Saturday, February 28, the Family Equality Council honored Fox's Glee and Modern Family for their role in advancing the national conversation about LGBTQ families. New Girl's Max Greenfield presented the awards to Glee creator Ryan Murphy and Modern Family creator Steve Levitan.
"I have always believed in the ideology of one of my friends and idols, Norman Lear, that the way to acceptance is understanding," Murphy said. "You have to see it, experience it in your house and life to empathize. I think the success of Glee and Modern Family brought gay kids and gay families to millions of people who think they didn't know those kinds of people, and then suddenly literally in the course of one month they did. To me, that is the great legacy of these shows and is why public opinion, I think, has changed so radically and so quickly."
Levitan agreed. His series Modern Family, produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television, features Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet as Mitch and Cam, a gay couple raising a daughter.
"We've heard from so many gay teens who have said they feel comfortable coming out because their parents loved Mitch and Cam," Levitan said. "We are very proud to be on the right side of history."
The event also featured several performances by Glee cast members, including Alex Newell, who plays the transgender character Wade "Unique" Adams on the show. Unique was the focal point of a recent episode entitled "Transitioning," in which football coach Shannon Beiste (Dot Marie Jones) returns to McKinley High as Coach Sheldon Beiste, and he struggles to adjust to his new life as a man. He finds support from Unique, who leads a 200-person transgender choir in a performance of "I Know Where I've Been" from the musical Hairspray. FOX worked with GLAAD to assemble the choir.
"Everything we do is through education, through a laugh," said Newell. "We're teaching society that not everyone is the same, and people are different, and their voices have to be heard too."
At the Awards Dinner, Newell sang "I Will Survive" before being joined by fellow Glee cast members Lea Michele, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet, Jenna Ushkowitz, Harry Shum, and Becca Tobin for renditions of "Dancing Queen" and "Don't Stop Believin'."
The event also honored Honey Maid for their "This Is Wholesome" ad campaign, which featured both gay and straight couples enjoying Honey Maid products. Annise Parker, who became the first openly gay mayor of Houston, Texas, in 2010, also received an award.
As part of the fundraising section of the ceremony, Glee's Darren Criss and American Horror Story's Sarah Paulson helped auction off a walk-on role on the upcoming season of AHS, a series Ryan Murphy created for FX. In total, Saturday's Awards Dinner helped raise more than $618,000 for their initiatives.
The Family Equality Council is a U.S.-based nonprofit advocating for equal representation of LGBTQ families in the media and provides resources for LGBTQ couples looking to adopt children.
Visit the Family Equality Council's website for more information on their programs, and for detailed accounts of the Los Angeles Awards Dinner, visit Variety and The Hollywood Reporter. Ryan Murphy's full speech from the ceremony can be read at Vulture.
Glee's final episode will air on FOX on Friday, March 20.
Photo by Jason Kemping for Getty Images.
Fox Audience Strategy has announced the finalists for the fourth annual Fox Writers Intensive, a competitive fellowship at the Fox Studios Lot in Los Angeles for writers with diverse voices and backgrounds. This year, FWI selected twelve writers and writing teams for the program, which allows participants to work closely with Fox showrunners, writers, directors, and creative executives.
"Authenticity is essential to successful storytelling. That process starts with hiring writers with diverse and authentic points of view, and that's exactly who we want to engage through the Fox Writers Intensive," said Nicole A. Bernard, Executive Vice President of Audience Strategy for 21st Century Fox.
With the help of the nonprofit Film Independent, FWI offers trained writers a fourth-month curriculum focused on developing original material, learning and honing writing skills for multiple mediums, and exploring the business of media and entertainment. Upon completion of the program, finalists receive priority staffing meetings for the established FWI Staff Writer position on Fox productions. The program also aims to provide each writer with a first-look deal on his/her original scripts.
At the conclusion of the intensive, one finalist will be named the 2015 FWI Fellow, who will be awarded either a purchase and development deal on his/her original script or a "first-look" deal from FOX Broadcasting Company or any of its affiliated entities.
This year's FWI finalists were selected from more than 400 nominations and submissions by talent representation and arts organizations across the country. Visit Deadline Hollywood for the full list of finalists.
Fox Audience Strategy is a cross-divisional resource to help Fox film and television businesses engage and appeal to a culturally diverse audience. FAS works with the Fox businesses to encourage more diverse hiring and authentically reflect diverse audiences. Learn more at FoxAudienceStrategy.com.
In its most recent episode, which aired Friday, February 13, FOX's Glee featured a performance by a 200-person choir comprised entirely of people from the transgender community. FOX worked closely with the LGBT advocacy group GLAAD to assemble the choir.
"This really is the face of America and you hope that when people see this episode they'll recognize, 'Hey, they look just like me,'" said Glee executive producer Dante DiLoreto. "This isn't about tolerance, it's about coming home, and coming home to who you really are -- and who you're meant to be and who you're meant to be with."
In the episode, entitled "Transitioning," football coach Shannon Beiste (Dot Marie Jones) returns to McKinley High as Coach Sheldon Beiste, and he struggles to adjust to his new life as a man. He finds support from student Wade "Unique" Adams (Alex Newell), a transgender student who has been a recurring character on the show since the third season. Unique leads the transgender choir in a performance of "I Know Where I've Been" from the musical Hairspray.
"We know [this storyline] will make a difference," Jones told The Hollywood Reporter. "Look at all the things that all the kids on our show have gone through, everything that Chris Colfer and Kurt have gone through. Of any show on broadcast, it should be a Fox show because they are the risk takers. I don't think even taking a risk is the right word. It's just real."
Together, FOX and GLAAD recruited transgender singers from all over the country. According to GLAAD, many of them said they had never been in a room with so many other transgender people before.
For more information on the choir, visit GLAAD.org, and see below for a behind the scenes clip of the episode:
At the 46th Annual NAACP Image Awards on Friday, February 6, Fox Searchlight's Belle was named the year's Outstanding Independent Motion Picture, and Misan Sagay was recognized for writing the screenplay. The event celebrates the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (television, recording, literature, motion picture, writing, and directing), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavors. Belle received five total nominations, including for Outstanding Motion Picture.
Set in the late 1700s, the film is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a British admiral who was raised by her aristocratic aunt and uncle. Sagay told The Riveter that she wrote the film "to shine a light on issues that had relevance then and have relevance today."
Projects by other 21st Century Fox businesses received nominations, as well. Jamie Foxx and Zoe Saldana received acting nominations for Rio 2 and The Book of Life, respectively.
In the television categories, FOX comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and The Mindy Project, as well as dramas Gotham, Sleepy Hollow, and Red Band Society received acting nominations, as did FX's American Horror Story: Freak Show and Twentieth Century Fox Television's Modern Family.
For the complete list of winners, visit NAACPImageAwards.net.
Each year at its Los Angeles Awards Dinner, the Family Equality Council, a U.S.-based nonprofit advocating for LGBTQ parents and families, recognizes media, companies, and public figures that encourage equality for all families. This year, the organization will honor Fox's Glee and Modern Family for advancing the national conversation around the LGBTQ community.
"These two hit shows brought complex, sympathetic, and realistic LGBTQ characters into living rooms across the nation," the organization said in a press release. "Their stories celebrate LGBTQ individuals and families. The positive exposure these series have brought to LGBTQ parents and their children has been and continues to be a vital part of the movement to spread marriage and family equality."
The event, hosted at the Beverly Hilton on Saturday, February 28, will also feature performances by Glee cast members Lea Michele, Darren Criss, Chord Overstreet, Alex Newell, and Becca Tobin, as well as singer Maxine Nightingale. Actors Matt Bomer, Dot Marie Jones, and Amber Riley, all of whom have appeared on Glee, are also scheduled to appear.
The Family Equality Council will also honor Annise Parker, who became the first LGBTQ mayor of Houston, Texas, in 2010, as well as Honey Maid for their #thisiswholesome campaign featuring families who fall outside traditional definitions of the word "family."
Twentieth Century Fox Television, the production studio home to Glee and Modern Family, is a Gold Sponsor of the event, along with Ryan Murphy Television.
The Family Equality Council works at the federal, state, and local levels to create a world where all loving families are recognized, respected, and protected. Learn more at the Family Equality Council website.
This week, the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD announced the nominees for the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which honor media for their fair, accurate, and inclusive representations of the LGBT community and the issues that affect their lives. Three Fox series were among the nominees.
FOX Broadcasting's comedies Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Glee, along with Twentieth Century Fox Television's Modern Family, received nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. All three series were nominated last year, and Glee and Modern Family have each won twice before.
"This year's nominees... reflect the widening diversity of LGBT images and storylines that are closing the gap to full acceptance," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis.
The 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards will be held on March 21 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles and in New York on May 9 at the Waldorf Astoria New York. For more information on GLAAD and a full list of nominees, visit GLAAD.org.
For 40 years, the organization Humanitas has awarded its Humanitas Prize to film and television writers whose works demonstrate effective social messaging and powerful insights into human life. The winners of the 2014 Humanitas Prize were announced at a luncheon in Los Angeles on Friday, and three of the ten projects honored were Fox productions.
In the Feature Film category, John Ridley won for the screenplay to Fox Searchlight's 12 Years a Slave, also the winner of the 2014 Academy Award for Best Picture. "This is very special to me, that an incredible community of writers would recognize my work and the work of Solomon Northup," Ridley said at the ceremony. "When people look at storytelling as a means to convey emotion, touch people, and try and change the world, that's kind of awesome."
Fox was also a winner in the television categories. Writers Alex Gansa and Meredith Stiehm won for "The Star" episode of Homeland, produced by Fox 21 Television Studios, and Elaine Ko won for the "Under Pressure" episode of Modern Family, produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television.
"We are so proud and honored to add this year's Humanitas Prize winners to the long list of writers whose work has both entertained and inspired us for the past four decades," said Humanitas executive director Cathleen Young. "It is a formidable group."
Over the course of the evening, Humanitas awarded more than $100,000 across 10 categories of writers whose works "entertain, engage, and enrich the viewing public." Six of the twenty film and television productions nominated in the content categories were produced and/or distributed by Fox, and previous Fox winners include Lucy Alibar & Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ryan Murphy for Glee, David Shore for House, and Steve Levitan for Modern Family.
Father Ellwood Keiser founded the prize in 1974 as a means of recognizing the powerful effect that film and television can have on audiences. "By bringing into our living rooms human beings who are very different from ourselves in culture, race, lifestyle, political loyalties, and religious beliefs, we can dissolve the walls of ignorance and fear that separate us form one another," he said.
For a recap of the event, including the complete list of winners, visit the New York Observer.
For the fifth year in a row, more than 100 Fox employees competed in the Nautica Malibu Triathlon presented by Equinox, an annual event that raises money for the pediatric cancer research center Children's Hospital Los Angeles. This was the first year that the Fox team won the Entertainment Industry Challenge, beating out triathlon teams from other media companies and raising nearly $124,000 for Children's Hospital LA.
More than 5,000 athletes from around the world competed at the triathlon, held in Malibu, California, on September 13 and 14. Individual athletes, corporate teams, and celebrities all turned out to support the cause, among them Max Greenfield of FOX's New Girl, who participated for the third consecutive year. Combined, the event raised more than $1.3 million to fund pediatric cancer research at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
For more information, including photos, race results, and details on how to purchase a 30-minute television special aired on FOX Sports, visit NauticaMalibuTri.com.
Satyamev Jayate ("Truth Alone Prevails"), STAR India's groundbreaking social awareness series hosted by Bollywood star Aamir Khan, was recognized this week by exchange4media for its excellence in cause marketing. SMJ's "Vote For Change" campaign, which accompanied the show's second season, received a "Gold" ranking in the Cause-Related Marketing category at exchange4media's 2014 Indian Marketing Awards ceremony on Friday, December 12.
"The Indian Marketing Awards is our biggest and most prestigious competition," said Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of exchange4media Group. "The awards have been presented to organizations, individuals and teams who have achieved extraordinary success from innovative and effective marketing practices."
The Vote for Change campaign was the hallmark of Satyamev Jayate's second season, which aired in March 2014, just before the prime ministerial election. Each episode featured a "Vote for Change' poll that asked viewers to "vote" yes or no to a question, such as "Do you pledge that you will not sell your vote or case your vote for any criminal politician?" The campaign sought to galvanize participation in the election and urged viewers to vote with integrity.