'Frasier,' 'Murphy Brown' writers in running

Writers for ABC’s “Nothing Sacred,” NBC’s “Frasier” and CBS’ “Murphy Brown” are among the finalists for the prestig-ious 1998 Humanitas Prizes, presented to writers of television programs and motion pictures which do the most to communicate values to their viewers.

A total of $120,000 in prize money is divided amongst the winners in seven categories.

The finalists were selected from 433 entries, and the winning writers will be announced at the Humanitas Prize luncheon July 9th at the Universal Sheraton Hotel. Tom Fontana, exec producer of “Homicide: Life on the Street,” is scheduled as the keynote speaker.

The nominees in the feature film category are “Contact” (Warner Bros.), screenplay by James V. Hart and Michael Goldenberg; “The Education of Little Tree” (Paramount), adapted by Richard Friedenberg; and “Good Will Hunting” (Miramax), written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck.

The finalists in the 90 minute or longer PBS/cable category are “Clover” (USA), written by Bill Cain; “George Wallace” (TNT), teleplay by Paul Monash and Marshall Frady and story by Monash; and “Mother Teresa: In the Name of God’s Poor” (Family Channel), teleplay by Dominique Lapierre and Carol Kaplan and story by Jan Hartman and Lapierre.

In the 90 minute or longer network or syndicated category the finalists are ABC’s “Lost Israel,” (Part 2, “NYPD Blue”), teleplay by David Milch and Nicholas Wootton and story by Milch and Bill Clark; “The Staircase” (CBS), teleplay by Christopher Lofton; and ABC’s Wonderful World of Disney’s “Ruby Bridges,” written by Toni Ann Johnson.

In the 60 minute category the finalists are NBC’s “Family Practice” (“ER”), written by Carol Flynt; NBC’s “Mercy” (“Homicide: Life on the Street”), written by Eric Overmyer; and ABC’s “Proofs for the Existence of God” “Nothing Sacred,” written by Paul Leland.

The finalists for the 30 minute category are PBS’ “The Fix,” written by Bennett Cohen and Edit Villarreal; NBC’s “The Kid” (“Frasier”), written by Jeffrey Richman and Suzanne Martin; and CBS’ “Turpis Capillis Annus” (Bad Hair Year) (“Murphy Brown,”) written by Marilyn Suzanne Miller.

In the childrens’ live action category, the finalists are Nickelodeon’s “First Time,” written by Jeff Stetson; NBC’s “Putting Up Walls” (“Saved by the Bell”), written by Renee Palyo and Bennett Tramer; and TNT’s “Smudge,” written by Hillary Jones-Farrow.

The children’s animation category final nominees are Fox’s “Blinded by Love” (“Life With Louie”), written by David Silverman and Marcy Gray Rubin; Fox’s “Family Portrait” (“Life With Louie”), teleplay by Shaun Ryan and story by Russell P. Marleau and Matthew O’Callaghan; and Nick’s “Mother’s Day Special” (“Rugrats”), written by John Cooksey, Ali Marie Matheson, J. David Stem and David Weiss.

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