You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Lear organizes field trip

Producers, scribes meet with medical experts

TV dramas have long played a part in raising awareness of health concerns and medical issues, from “St. Elsewhere” tackling HIV and AIDS to “ER” examining a host of crises during its run.

But rarely have industryites been able to witness the real-life drama of endemic health problems as they will Sunday when USC’s Annenberg Norman Lear Center and the Gates Foundation sponsor a weeklong trip for a clutch of top TV scribes and producers to South Africa and India.

The initiative is organized by the Lear Center’s Hollywood, Health & Society unit, which focuses on connecting medical experts with TV writers and producers. The unit is funded primarily by the Centers for Disease Control in an effort to ensure accuracy in the portrayal of public-health issues.

Trip marks a marriage between HHS’ approach to “entertainment education” and the Gates Foundation’s goal of increasing awareness of global health problems. Writers and producers will visit Johannesburg and Mumbai and be immersed in these foreign cultures, experience the way health care is developed and talk to local healthcare providers about medical issues and solutions found in those regions.

Among those set for the trek are Neal Baer and Jonathan Green (“Law & Order: SVU”), Jennifer Cecil (“Private Practice”), Carol Barbee (“Jericho”), and Walt Disney Feature Animation exec Karen Tenkhoff.

“It’s rare for Hollywood writers to get involved with global health topics,” said HHS director Sandra de Castro Buffington. “Our goal is to inspire writers … and have them inspire their colleagues.”

The WGA West will host a panel sesh June 15 for participants to share their experiences.

More TV

  • REEF BREAK - "Pilot" - When

    TV Review: 'Reef Break'

    Unmoored from reason or shame and buoyed by its willingness to be as silly as it wants to be, the new ABC drama “Reef Break” is a wildly unserious piece of television. In that, it’s a bit refreshing — a network series that embraces its network-iness, that has absolutely no ambition beyond evoking a smile. [...]

  • Imagine Kids + Family

    Imagine Kids & Family to Develop Scripted Space Series at Nickelodeon (EXCLUSIVE)

    Imagine Entertainment is continuing to build out its kids and family division with the addition of a new Nickelodeon project. Variety has learned exclusively that Imagine Kids & Family is developing an untitled scripted space series with the children’s’ network. “Working with Brian, Ron and all the creative voices at Imagine to create this project [...]

  • GRAND HOTEL - ABC's "Grand Hotel"

    TV Ratings: 'Grand Hotel' Premieres Low, ABC Still Wins Monday

    ABC’s “Grand Hotel” premiered to not so grand figures for the network. Based on the original Spanish series and starring Demian Bichir, Eva Longoria and Roselyn Sanchez, “Grand Hotel” provides an upstairs/downstairs look at the scandals and secrets of both the Mendoza family and the staff that works for them. The series premiere scored a [...]

  • And Then We Danced

    Swedish Outfit French Quarter Steps Into TV With Graphic Novel Adaptation

    Swedish production company French Quarter, the outfit behind Cannes Directors’ Fortnight entry “And Then We Danced,” is venturing into TV with a web series adapted from Henrik Bromander’s graphic novel “Kurs I självutplåning” (“Course in self-annihilation”). The comedy series has been commissioned by the Swedish broadcaster SVT, as first reported by Nordic Film & TV [...]

  • Euphoria

    TV Ratings: 'Euphoria' Premieres to Solid Numbers, 'Big Little Lies' Rises

    HBO’s new series “Euphoria” has been causing waves due to the abundance of of violence, graphic nudity and drug use by its young characters that it puts on screen. Helped by star Zendaya, whose social media post prior to the premiere reminding viewers of the show’s mature themes has more than 200,000 likes, and a [...]

  • Donna-Brazile-Fox-News

    Donna Brazile Is Ready to Talk Left-Leaning Politics - on Fox News

    A stalwart Democrat plus Fox News Channel? That’s a recipe for making sparks fly. But Donna Brazile says she’s not looking for a fight when she appears on the cable-news outlet. Brazile, the former campaign manager for Al Gore in 2000 and a one-time interim chair of the Democratic National Committee, was named a Fox [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content