Grab the popcorn, this is going to be good.
As part of its Characters Unite public-service initiative, USA Network is debuting a quarterly Saturday movie series to promote diversity among its viewers beginning with The Color Purple. The critically acclaimed film, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker, will be presented with limited ads and introduced by its star Whoopi Goldberg.
NBCUniversal Cable entertainment chairman Bonnie Hammer told The Hollywood Reporter that the project is deeply personal and dates back nearly two decades to when she created the socially conscious Erase the Hate campaign on USA.
“I’m a big believer that we’re not born knowing how to hate; we’re taught to hate,” she explained. “We may be more sophisticated in how we hide it, but there are still so many phobias in this world, whether it’s Islamophobia, xenophobia or homophobia.”
She continued, “I’ve been trying to do things that expose and help teach and draw attention to all of the ‘isms’ and how we do or don’t deal with them in our world.”
Although she has yet to license additional films, Hammer is looking to add Gentleman’s Agreement, Imitation of Life, Milk and Brokeback Mountain to the roster. It is also her hope to arrange panels, classroom applications and discussions with talent, producers or directors to accompany the films.
The Color Purple will air this Saturday (Nov. 17) at 8/7c on USA.