Bizzers join push on public service

Org drafts H'wood guild toppers

WASHINGTON — A Washington think tank teamed up Thursday with USC’s Norman Lear Center in announcing a bicoastal effort by Hollywood, the media biz, politicos and educators to promote the virtues and values of public service.

The Council for Excellence in Government and the Norman Lear Center hope to develop strategies and ways to engage the average citizen.

“Since Sept. 11, people — especially young adults — are paying more attention to government,” said Patricia McGinnis, prexy of the council. “Their perceptions of government are clearly influenced not just by the news media, but also by entertainment media, from television sitcoms and dramatic series to major motion pictures.”

The project, Media, Citizens & Democracy, has drafted toppers of the leading Hollywood guilds, producer Dick Wolf, Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy-CEO Jack Valenti, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences prexy Frank Pierson and Academy of Television Arts & Sciences chair Bryce Zabel, among others.

Repping the media biz are Washington Post TV critic Tom Shales; political and TV analyst Dee Dee Myers; and Gwen Ifill, senior correspondent for PBS’ “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer.”

USC’s Annenberg School, home of the Norman Lear Center, believes it’s critical to harness the incredible reach of the entertainment and media worlds.

“Entertainment is an unofficial curriculum for Americans,” said center director and Annenberg associate dean Martin Kaplan.

The project will include opinion surveys, roundtables in Washington and Los Angeles and a national symposium.

The Carnegie Corp. of New York is funding the effort.

Popular on Variety

More Biz

  • Mass Appeal and Universal Launch Hip-Hop

    Nas, Mass Appeal and Universal Music Launch Hip-Hop Label in India, Sign Divine

    Mass Appeal and Universal Music Group today announced the launch of Mass Appeal India – a new label dedicated to amplifying India’s burgeoning hip-hop culture on a global scale. The new label’s operations will be based Universal Music India’s headquarters in Mumbai and will function as a multi-channel partnership between the two companies. According to the announcement, Mass Appeal India will sign and [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, center, arrives to court

    Weinstein's Attorneys Seek to Move Trial to Long Island or Albany

    Harvey Weinstein’s attorneys want his rape trial moved to Long Island or Albany, citing the “circus-like atmosphere” surrounding the courthouse in Manhattan. Weinstein is set to go on trial on Sept. 9 on five charges of rape and sexual assault. The disgraced producer faces a potential life term if convicted. In a motion to the [...]

  • Edge, left, Adam Clayton, and Bono

    New York’s PlayStation Theater to Close (EXCLUSIVE)

    New York’s PlayStation Theater, a 2,100-capacity venue located in Times Square and operated by Bowery Presents, will close at the end of 2019, a source close to the situation tells Variety. The venue will close with a New Year’s series of shows from the Disco Biscuits. The theater, which is located two stories beneath the [...]

  • Courtesy of Earwolf

    How Lauren Lapkus Tossed the Script and Created a Podcasting Hit

    Lauren Lapkus has tossed the script on what makes most podcasts a hit. At a time when many of the most downloaded shows are true crime investigations or celebrity interviews, she’s doing something entirely different on each episode of “With Special Guest Lauren Lapkus.” Each hour-long installment is a free-wheeling, completely improvised ride. One show [...]


    WWE's 'NXT' Moves to USA Network as Wrestling Competition Heats Up

    WWE has struck a deal to move its “NXT” franchise focusing on rising stars to USA Network starting next month. “NXT” will shift to USA from the WWE Network subscription streaming service as of Sept. 18. The deal comes as USA is about to lose WWE’s “SmackDown” showcase to Fox starting in October. USA is [...]

  • Shazam

    Apple Music Launches 'Shazam Discovery' Chart, Focused on New Artists

    Apple Music today launched the “Shazam Discovery Top 50,” a weekly, global ranking of 50 artists that it describes as “on the move and trending” — in other words, new and emerging artists. While the company wouldn’t say much specifically about how the chart is tabulated, it uses “Shazam’s proprietary algorithms [to offer] a unique predictive view [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content