USA Network Partners with National Football League on 2nd Annual NFL Characters Unite Documentary Profiling Star Players Larry Fitzgerald, Jameel McClain, Troy Polamalu and Justin Tuck
One-Hour Film from The Hochberg Ebersol Company Will Follow NFL Stars as They Help Young People Tackle Issues of Prejudice and Discrimination They Encountered in Their Own Lives
Premieres Friday, February 8 at 7/6c as Part of USA's Characters Unite Month
NEW YORK – January 14, 2012 – In partnership with the NFL, USA Network is producing the 2nd annual NFL CHARACTERS UNITE documentary to premiere during the week after Super Bowl XLVII on Friday, February 8 at 7pmET. The film, part of USA’s award-winning Characters Unite public service campaign to combat prejudice and discrimination, will feature Arizona Cardinals 2009 Pro Bowl MVP wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain, Pittsburgh Steelers seven-time Pro Bowl safety Troy Polamalu and New York Giants Pro Bowl defensive end Justin Tuck. All four players have had enormous success on the field after overcoming obstacles of prejudice and discrimination in their personal lives.
The documentary profiles the NFL stars as they share their deeply personal stories – from Jameel McClain feeling ostracized when his family was homeless and Justin Tuck enduring bullying while trying to succeed in school, to Larry Fitzgerald witnessing discrimination during his mother's battle with cancer and Troy Polamalu learning to embrace his heritage and unique look. The players also go back to their respective communities to meet a child or teenager currently facing the same challenges and adversity. Through meaningful conversation and specially tailored confidence-building activities, the NFL stars help the young people realize how they too can overcome the bullying, prejudice and intolerance they have experienced and move on to achieve their own greatness.
"In our second NFL CHARACTERS UNITE documentary, we are honored to be able to share the courageous and inspiring stories of some of today’s greatest NFL heroes and to showcase their commitments to help kids in their communities overcome bullying and discrimination," said Toby Graff, USA's senior vice president, public affairs. "We are proud to continue our partnership with the NFL to create this powerful film that will serve as a programming centerpiece of the 2013 Characters Unite Month."
"This collaboration with USA and the NFL has become a fantastic annual celebration for our company as we are inspired each year by the tireless efforts of our football heroes' efforts to improve the lives of America's youth," said Charlie Ebersol, executive producer and co-founder of The Hochberg Ebersol Company.
"Working with USA Network on NFL Characters Unite as well as our upcoming series "The Moment" makes us realize that dreams do come true and we feel privileged to play a part in helping these four teens get a second chance," added Justin Hochberg, executive producer and co-founder of The Hochberg Ebersol Company.
"Larry, Jameel, Troy and Justin are incredible role models off the field as they are inspirational players on the field," said Tracy Perlman, NFL vice president of entertainment marketing and promotions. "We are pleased to once again work with USA and The Hochberg Ebersol Company to share their important stories."
The documentary, created by The Hochberg Ebersol Company and executive produced by company co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Justin W. Hochberg, was produced by Paul Pawlowski and P3 Entertainment and directed by Ezra Edelman (HBO’s Magic and Bird: A Courtship of Rivals). It will premiere in February as part of Characters Unite Month, a time when the network shines an even brighter spotlight on the importance of promoting greater respect and acceptance through on-air programming, digital content and community events. For more information on CHARACTERS UNITE, visit www.usanetwork.com.
ABOUT USA NETWORK The #1 network in all of basic cable for seven consecutive years, USA Network is seen in over 102 million U.S. homes. USA is a leader in scripted programming with a powerful stable of originals, spectacular live television and is home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, a broad portfolio of acquired series and entertainment events. Viewers come to USA to find television's best in critically-acclaimed and award-winning original programming, such as BURN NOTICE, ROYAL PAINS, WHITE COLLAR, COVERT AFFAIRS, PSYCH, SUITS, NECESSARY ROUGHNESS and WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW, as well as the highest-rated acquired originals, including HOUSE, NCIS, LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT and CSI. A trailblazer in digital innovation and storytelling, USA is defining, driving and setting the industry standard for Social TV. USA is a program service of NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment, a division of NBCUniversal. The award-winning website is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.
ABOUT THE HOCHBERG EBERSOL COMPANY The Hochberg Ebersol Company (THE Company) was founded in 2010 by entertainment industry veteran Justin Hochberg and television/film producer Charlie Ebersol. THE Company creates, packages and produces groundbreaking programming in the unscripted, multi-camera comedy, docu-series, and competition formats, for a range of leading broadcast and cable networks. Credits include TNT's first reality series "The Great Escape," which was produced with Hollywood greats Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, and Bertam van Muster, the USA documentary "NFL Characters Unite," which returns this February, USA's first reality show "The Moment," premiering this spring as well as a new competition series for Reelz Channel, “Race to the Scene” hosted by action star Dolph Lundergren. In addition to developing, producing and distributing dynamic television programming, THE Company operates a full-service branded entertainment agency alongside the traditional production company. Its clients have included “Shaq Vs.,” Dick Clark Productions and “Hell’s Kitchen” for Fox, as well as over a hundred advertising companies including DirecTV, NASCAR, Skype, Caesar’s Palace, Proctor & Gamble, Notre Dame college, the CIA, Department of Homeland Security, Camping World and Sports Illustrated. THE Company also operates its own in-house post facilities, which includes CGI capabilities. THE Company is represented by Michael Kagan at ICM and Bill Abrams of Abrams Garfinkel Margolis Bergson, LLP.