After six seasons and 121 episodes, FOX's pioneering musical series Glee came to an end on Friday, March 20. The series leaves behind not only a long record of industry successes, including six Primetime Emmy Awards, four Golden Globes, and more than 200 singles in the Billboard Hot 100, but also a long legacy of leveraging its popularity to have a positive impact on society.
Glee devoted scores of episodes to issues relevant to young people, from bullying and teen pregnancy to physical disability and texting while driving, and the series inspired a renaissance in school music programs. A 2010 study by the National Association for Music Education found that 43% of high school choral instructors attributed the rise in interest and participation in their programs to the success of Glee. The cast and creative team at the show recognized this early on and supported school arts programs throughout the show's run.
Glee also became known for its nuanced representations of the LGBT community. At its 26th annual award ceremony on March 21st, the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD gave the show a Special Recognition Award for "consistently introducing groundbreaking LGBT characters and storylines." Joe Earley, Chief Operating Officer at Fox Television Group, accepted the award on behalf of the show, and trans actor Alex Newell, who played Wade "Unique" Adams on the show, gave a special performance of "I Know Where I've Been" from Hairspray and received a standing ovation. 21st Century Fox and Fox Networks Group were Titanium Sponsors of the event.
The show's track record of positive representations of LGBT characters was part of its larger commitment to feature those who had traditionally been underrepresented on television, including LGBT characters, people of color, and characters with physical or mental disabilities. Ryan Murphy, who created Glee along with Brad Falchuk and Ian Brennan, has been outspoken about this aspect of the show: "I wanted to talk about the underdog element in society: the pregnant girl, the gay kid, the kid in a wheelchair, the African-American girl who's one of five black kids in their school," Murphy told USA Today. "I wanted to give voices to people who don't have voices." With this mission in mind, Glee became an inspiration for viewers around the world to embrace their individuality, express their creativity, and be proud of who they are.
Learn more about Glee's legacy of social impact in our full case study.
21st Century Fox Partners with Give a Note Foundation to Honor 'Glee' Finale by Supporting School Music Programs
To commemorate the series finale of FOX's groundbreaking musical Glee, 21st Century Fox has announced a new partnership with the Give a Note Foundation to establish the 21st Century Fox Give a Note Grants, which will support up to 20 under-funded music education programs at schools across the United States with grants from $2,500 to $5,000. Over the course of its six seasons, Glee has sparked renewed interest and participation in school arts programs throughout the country, and this partnership celebrates that impact.
The Grants are the latest chapter in a long-standing relationship between 21st Century Fox and the Give a Note Foundation. The company first worked with the organization on the 2011 Glee Give a Note campaign, which donated a portion of the proceeds from every sale of the Glee Season 2 DVD to at-risk school music programs. 21st Century Fox will work closely with the Give a Note Foundation to identify the schools that will receive these new grants.
"Over the past six years, Glee has inspired generations of viewers to recognize the vital importance of arts education and demand music programs in their schools," said Shira Oberlander, Director of Social Impact at 21st Century Fox. "We are thrilled to celebrate that legacy, and we could not be more proud of the work the cast, crew, and creative team have done to promote music education on this remarkable show."
For more information on the Give a Note Foundation, visit GiveANote.org. The two-hour series finale of Glee airs Friday, March 20, at 8PM on FOX.
During a presentation at SXSW earlier this week, the National Geographic Channel announced that StarTalk, its new late night science-themed talk show, will premiere on Monday, April 20th, at 11PM ET/10PM CT. Neil deGrasse Tyson, renowned astrophysicist and star of FOX's Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, will host the hour-long series, which explores the ways science and technology have influenced the lives of his guests.
Based on Dr. Tyson's popular podcast of the same name, the weekly series will feature an interview with Tyson and a guest, as well as a discussion between Tyson and a group of panelists before a live studio audience at the American Museum of Natural History's Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City. Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, biologist Richard Dawkins, retired Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, producer Norman Lear, film director Christopher Nolan, and Star Trek actor George Takei are all scheduled to appear as guests. Bill Nye the Science Guy will also make weekly appearances via a pre-taped segment.
"Expanding the StarTalk radio show and podcast into a television show on National Geographic Channel offers a unique opportunity to show viewers how pervasive science is in our culture and how entertaining science can be," said Dr. Tyson. "Throughout the show we explore current issues with top industry leaders and pair that with comical, but informed, commentary. From politicians and actors to scientists, social activists, and more, the impact of science knows no bounds."
The series will air weekly on Mondays at 11PM on the National Geographic Channel and will repeat on Fridays at 7PM.
Visit StarTalkRadio.net for more information.
Photo: Tyson with comedian Eugene Mirman and astronaut Mike Massimino, both upcoming StarTalk guests
At its inaugural Social Good Awards on Monday, March 3, the media news organization Cynopsis honored the television industry's outstanding social responsibility initiatives for the 2014 year. Nat Geo WILD and FOX Sports, both members of the 21st Century Fox family, each received awards for their Big Cat Week and Special Olympics campaigns, respectively.
Tying with the USA Network's "Characters Unite" initiative, Nat Geo WILD's Big Cat Week won in the overall Awareness Campaign or Initiative category. In addition to on-air programming, Big Cat Week supports on-the-ground conservation projects in habitats where the world's big cat population is in decline. More information is available on Nat Geo WILD's website.
FOX Sports Supports, the charitable division of FOX Sports, was recognized in the Awareness Campaign: Sports category for its work surrounding the 2014 Special Olympic USA Games. FOX Sports provided on-air and online media exposure across its suite of channels via on-air specials, PSAs, and in-person activation, supporting the more than 3,500 athletes that competed in the Games, as well as their friends and families.
FOX Sports also received several honorable mentions, including in the Nonprofit/Corporate Partnership category for its work with AYSO, the Social Good Shining Stars award for its FOX Sports Supports initiative, and in the Integrated Campaign for a TV Series category for FOX Sports Regional Marketing's "FOX Sports Salutes the Troops" campaign.
"We know that our community is a vibrant group of engaged professionals who are also civic-minded citizens who want to give back to the public through their profession," said Roberta Caploe, Cynopsis Editorial Director.
For more information, including a complete list of winners and photos from the event, visit Cynopsis.com.
In honor of International Women's Day 2015, STAR Sports, a division of STAR India, has launched the social media campaign #CheckOutMyGame, and the company is running an on-air promo as a way to pay tribute to women in sports. Watch the promo above and join in the conversation on Twitter.
Each year, the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation hosts the Gracies Awards, honoring exemplary women in the entertainment industry who are pioneers in their respective fields. Among the honorees this year is Ann Druyan, who will be recognized for her work producing Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey for FOX and the National Geographic Channel.
Druyan worked for seven years to bring Cosmos back to television. She wrote for her husband Carl Sagan's original Cosmos series in 1980, and she was instrumental in the new show's success, writing each of the thirteen episode scripts with her partner Steven Soter.
"Though we receive hundreds of submissions from all over the country every year, it never ceases to amaze us of all the great work that has been done to further highlight women in media," said Kristen Welch, Chair of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. "We are thrilled to honor such smart, thoughtful and inspirational individuals, organizations and programming this year."
The Gracies Awards, established in 1975, support AWMF's educational programs, charitable activities, and public service and scholarship campaigns that benefit women in media. The event will "showcase the strides women have made in media throughout the past 40 years and celebrate the bold new trails women are blazing for tomorrow."
The Foundation will distribute the Gracies Awards at a ceremony in Los Angeles on May 19. Other honorees include Julia Roberts, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Cicely Tyson. For the full list of recipients, visit TheGracies.org.
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: